DAYTON, OHIO – For the first time since 1994 and for just the third time in program history, the Saint Joseph’s men’s soccer program will appear in the conference postseason as the seventh-seeded Hawks (5-8-5, 3-5-0 A-10) take on second-seeded George Mason (10-2-4, 5-0-3 A-10) on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Atlantic 10 Men’s Soccer Championship. Start time is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. at Baujan Field.
The match will be streamed live without charge via the Atlantic 10 Digital Network. Watch here.
“Seeing them have success is the best part,” said head coach Don D’Ambra on Monday afternoon. “The program hasn’t been there in a long time. They’re excited to be a part of the group that got there for the first time in a long time.”
Saint Joseph's clinched its first postseason birth in 19 years with a 1-0 win at Fordham on Sunday and a 3-1 victory over George Washington on Friday.
Against the Rams, sophomore midfielder Tim Lazorko scored his fourth goal of the season in the 23rd minute. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Andrew D'Ottavi and junior forward Alex Critzos were both credited with assists on the play, and D'Ottavi made four saves to post his sixth blank sheet of the season.
The Hawks also won their must-win match on Friday as Saint Joseph's rallied for the match's first three goals against the Colonials. Senior midfielder Jimmy Reilly, Critzos, and Lazorko scored one goal apiece while Lazorko assisted on Reilly's tally and Critzos and junior forward Mike Glazer assisted on Lazorko's goal. D'Ottavi made two saves in the win.
For their efforts, Lazorko and D'Ottavi earned weekly accolades. Lazorko was named both the Atlantic 10 and Philadelphia Soccer Six Player of the Week while D'Ottavi nabbed Philadelphia Soccer Six Co-Defender of the Week distinction.
With three A-10 wins this season, including a 1-0 upset over #24 VCU, the Hawks notched more than two league wins in the same season for the first time since 2007.
George Mason leads 2-0 // Coach D’Ambra vs. George Mason: 0-1-0 // Saint Joseph's Streak: -2
First Meeting: 9/24/08, 2-0 George Mason // Last Meeting: 10/25/13, 1-0 (OT) George Mason
Last Saint Joseph's Win: ----- // Last George Mason Win: 10/25/13, 1-0 (OT)
SCOUTING GEORGE MASON
The Patriots are in the midst of a nine-game unbeaten streak, posting a 6-0-3 record that began September 28. Jannik Eckenrode (5G, 3A) and Wes Sever (4G, 1A) lead George Mason in scoring while Hugh Roberts has dished out a team-high five assists. Steffen Kraus (10-2-4) owns a 0.65 GAA and .796 saves percentage to go with seven shutouts in 1524:40.
LAST TIME OUT AGAINST THE PATRIOTS
A 95th-minute goal off the foot of George Mason's Jannik Eckenrode handed Saint Joseph’s a 1-0 overtime loss on October 25 at Sweeney Field. The physical overtime frame saw four fouls in the first 94:37, including a pair of SJU yellow cards, both in the 95th minute. George Mason's Hugh Roberts dished the match-winning pass to Zak Haapaoja, who found Eckenrode up toward Saint Joseph's goal. For the game, George Mason held a 17-8 advantage in shots, including a 7-1 tilt in shots on goal. The Patriots saw a slight 5-4 edge in corner kicks and was called for 16 of the match's 26 fouls.
Senior Colin Reilly landed SJU's lone shot on goal in the 65th minute. Reilly played a solid 33 minutes off the bench on the offensive attack. Junior Jake Nelson stepped up to play phenomenal defense having been shifted to the back line for the match while senior midfielder Pat McGlynn also played well defensively. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Andrew D’Ottavi made five saves, including gems in the 41st, 57th, and 94th minutes, in 94:40. Senior defender Brendan Reilly made a team save in 78th minute to help send the match into overtime.
Saint Joseph's will compete in the Atlantic 10 Men's Soccer Championship for the first time since 1994 and for the third time in program history, starting play on Thursday morning. Having not made the postseason in 19 years, Thursday's A-10 Championship Tournament match will be a first for all 30 members of the squad.
"DONNING" A FAMILIAR FACE
Current head coach Don D'Ambra is no stranger to the A-10 postseason, having led the Hawks to their first program appearance in 1993. That year, the Hawks concluded the season ranked second in the conference with a 12-6-1 overall record and 4-3-0 league record and, after defeating third-seeded Temple, 2-1, in the semifinals, advanced to the final match against top-seeded Rutgers. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Rutgers took the match, 3-0. D'Ambra was named to the All-Championship Team en route to being named the 1993 A-10 Performer of the Year. In 1994, a year after D'Ambra's graduation, third-seeded Saint Joseph's (10-7-2, 5-1-1 A-10) fell to second-seeded Rutgers, 4-2, in double-overtime of the semifinals.
LAZORKO ON THE LOOSE
Sophomore midfielder Tim Lazorko has been phenomenal in conference play, averaging 2.0 points per game in A-10 matches that the Hawks have won. From two goals and two assists, Lazorko owns six of the squad's 19 points in A-10 action and boasts a .417 SOG percentage in league play, landing five of his 12 shots on net. In a pair of must-win games this past weekend, Lazorko exploded for five points (2G, 1A) en route to being named the Atlantic 10 and Philadelphia Soccer Six Player of the Week.
ALL ABOUT ALEX
Junior forward Alex Critzos notched the match-winner in Saint Joseph's 3-1 victory over George Washington on Friday and one of two match-winning assists in SJU's 1-0 win over Fordham on Sunday, leading the Hawks to their first Atlantic 10 Championship Tournament appearance in 19 years.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Andrew D'Ottavi has put together a sensational senior season and currently sports a 1.45 GAA and .716 saves percentage off of 68 saves and just 27 goals allowed in 1679:40. The veteran netminder ranks fourth all-time in career saves on Hawk Hill with 361 and ties for third in all-time career shutouts with 11. D'Ottavi boasts six shutouts on the season, including crucial wins over Temple and #24 VCU, and has been named the Philadelphia Soccer Six Defender of the Week three times this year.