STANDISH, Maine – Top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (15-0-1, 9-0-1 GNAC) will host #8 Suffolk University (9-6-1, 4-5-1 GNAC) in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Soccer Tournament Quarterfinal game at the SJC Athletics Complex on Sunday at 1:00 PM.
Saturday's winner advances to the semifinal round of the GNAC tourney and will face the victor of the #5 Regis (Mass.) / #4 Mount Ida College quarterfinal, also played Saturday, on Wednesday.
The other wing of the bracket features quarterfinal contests between #2 Johnson & Wales University and #7 Albertus Magnus College and #3 Norwich University versus #6 Emmanuel College.
The winner of the GNAC Championship game, which will be played on Saturday, November 5th, earns an automatic berth into the 2017 NCAA DIII Men's Soccer Championship, which begins on November 11th.
SEASON AT A GLANCE
- Through 16 contests, the Monks have outscored their foes by an impressive 57-0 margin with 1,460 minutes of shutout play in goal. Saint Joseph's currently ranks as the NCAA DIII leader in save percentage (1.000), goals against average (0.00), shots on goal per game (11.94), and shutout percentage (1.000).
- The Monks also rank second in the country in won-lost-tied percentage (.969), third in shots per game (23.06), fourth in assists per game (3.25) and total assists (52), fifth in points per game (10.38) and total points (166), and seventh in total goals (57).
- As of October 27th, Saint Joseph's is the only NCAA program - men's or women's, levels DI, DII, and DIII - to have not yet allowed a goal. The Monks are also one of just three NCAA DIII men's programs to have not yet suffered a setback.
- In 16 games this fall, Saint Joseph's has established new program single-season records for goals (57), assists (51), points (165), longest winning streak (11), and consecutive shutouts (16). The Monks' 11-game winning streak is the third longest current run in NCAA DIII Men's Soccer.
- Suffolk has been a much better team on the road this fall, with a 5-1-1 record when traveling and a 3-5 mark at home – the Rams have not lost an away game since suffering a 1-0 defeat at Johnson & Wales on September 20th
- In their last seven contests, the Rams have outscored their opponents by a collective 23-12 score and are 5-1-1 during the month of October
- Suffolk leads the conference in shots on goal percentage (.625) and ranks second in shots on goal (173), third in goals (38), and fourth in shot percentage (.137) and assists (23)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Junior forward Brett Mattos (Mahopac, N.Y.) is in the midst of the best offensive season in SJC men's soccer history with Monks' single-season records in goals (18) and points (45) in just 16 games. The four-time GNAC Player of the Week honoree leads the conference in goals, points, PK goals (3), and game-winners (6)
- Sophomore midfielder Mitchell Duncan (Sanford, Maine) is enjoying a breakout year with seven goals – including three winners – and five assists for 19 points
- Senior forward Trevor Lopes (Cumberland, R.I.) complements Mattos perfectly up top and has netted eight goals (three clinchers) with two assists for 18 total points
- Sophomore Cody Elliott (Gorham, Maine) has emerged as one of the top playmakers in the conference with a GNAC-leading 12 assists (SJC record) and 13 total points
- The Rams are led offensively by sophomore forward Christian Restrepo (Everett, Mass.), who paces Suffolk in goals (9), assists (6), points (24), and game-winners (3)
- Sophomore forward James Fisher (Longmeadow, Mass.) has netted six goals with two assists for 14 total points
- Sophomore Felipe Ucros (Guatemala) has tallied 13 points with four goals and five assists
Saint Joseph's: Junior Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.) has turned away all 38 shots he has faced this fall with nine shutouts to his credit. The reigning GNAC Goalkeeper of the Year leads the nation in goals against average (0.00) and save percentage (1.000) and has not given up a goal to a GNAC opponent since October 17th, 2015.
Among all active NCAA DIII keepers, Mullen is the career leader in goals against average (0.32), ranks second in save percentage (.892), and third in shutouts (25).
Suffolk: Junior Kyle Van Cleef (Sandwich, Mass.) and sophomore Jon Brodeur (Northampton, Mass.) have essentially split time in goal for the Rams this fall. Van Cleef is 2-5-1 with 21 goals allowed and 57 saves with a 2.50 goals against average and a .731 save percentage in 757 minutes. Brodeur has logged 614 minutes in net with a 6-1-0 record while posting a 1.17 goals against average and a .789 save percentage across eight appearances, including six starts.
ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:
Saint Joseph's Head Coach Adrian Dubois, now in his fourth season at the helm, is 46-24-8 (.657) overall with a 28-9-2 (.757) record in conference play on the college sideline. The Monks have shown dramatic improvement since his first year (2014), when an injury-maligned club went 5-15 overall (3-6 GNAC). In his second season, St. Joe's went 11-7-1, and last fall, the Monks went 15-2-6 last fall en route to clinching a GNAC Championship and the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory – a PK triumph over pod-host Babson College. Dubois earned 2016 GNAC Coach of the Year honors for his efforts.
Suffolk Head Coach James Boden is in his third season for the Rams and has also guided his program to a quick turnaround. In his first year, Suffolk went 2-16-1 and suffered a 9-0 quarterfinal defeat at the hands of eventual GNAC Champion Johnson & Wales. Last fall, with a roster featuring 13 freshmen, the Rams improved their stock by seven victories.
THE LAST TIME WE MET:
Led by an SJC record-setting four-goal effort from Mattos, Saint Joseph's blanked Suffolk by a 5-0 score in Boston on September 30th. Late in the second half, the junior standout netted three goals in just two minutes and 26 seconds, the fourth-fastest time in NCAA DIII Men's Soccer history in which the same player has scored three-consecutive goals.
Saint Joseph's held considerable advantages in shots (26-3), shots on goal (19-2), and corner kicks (8-0) in the victory.
Saint Joseph's is 8-4-1 in the history of the matchup with Suffolk and has defeated the Rams in four-consecutive meetings dating back to the 2015 season.
The Monks have advanced to the GNAC Tournament every season since the College joined the conference in the fall of 2007. St. Joe's is 11-7 in GNAC postseason play with GNAC Championships in 2009, 2011, and 2016.
Suffolk, which joined the GNAC in 1999, has earned a playoff spot for the 17th time and has advanced to the semifinal round on three occasions, including the 2010 campaign when the Rams won the GNAC Championship. Suffolk is 6-16 in GNAC postseason play.
Sunday's tournament meeting will be the third between the Monks and the Rams. Saint Joseph's blanked Suffolk, 3-0, in a GNAC quarterfinal on October 29th, 2011, and toppled the Rams by a 5-1 score in a semifinal last fall (11/1/16).