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Men's Soccer

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SJU honored its seven graduating seniors before Saturday's home finale.
Courtesy: Sideline Photos, LLC
Men's Soccer Drops 3-2 Heartbreaker to La Salle
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  10/29/2016

PHILADELPHIA – La Salle's Sixtus Akinlosotu broke the tie in the 87th minute to hand the Saint Joseph's men's soccer squad a 3-2 loss on Sweeney Field in the 2016 regular-season home finale on Saturday evening on Senior Night. The Hawks drop to 6-10-1 overall (3-5-0 A-10) while La Salle improves to 9-7-0 overall (4-3-0 A-10).

The Atlantic 10 postseason runs from Thursday, November 10 through Sunday, November 13 at Davidson's Alumni Soccer Stadium in Davidson, N.C. The eight-team field will be officially announced next Saturday, November 5. Saint Joseph's is currently tied with Rhode Island for eighth in the league standings.

Akinlosotu fired off his first shot of the sequence seconds before the match-winning goal, but Saint Joseph's junior goalkeeper Greg O'Connell made the save. The ball came right back to Akinlosotu, who beat O'Connell with his match-winning shot into the back of the net.

"It was a very good, competitive game," said head coach Don D'Ambra following the match. "We came out and executed our game plan perfectly. We came out very aggressive and eager to attack . . . La Salle just capitalized on a couple of mistakes that we made, so that's what it comes down to.

"Our guys never gave up. They battled. La Salle just made the one play to get the result. I'm proud of our guys."

The Hawks didn't waste any time jumping out to a 2-0 lead, putting away a pair of goals by the 11th minute.

Senior midfielder Sam Irvin put away his first goal of the season in the eighth minute of play, after collecting the ball from sophomore forward Derek MacKinnon.

MacKinnon then scored his own goal just under three minutes later, on a brilliant sequence started by senior defender Mike Stuski. Stuski launched a long pass up to senior forward Mori Diane, who craftily flipped the ball up to MacKinnon for the sophomore's third goal of the year.

La Salle chipped back, scoring on a header off of a corner kick in the 23rd minute and on a rocket into the bottom-left corner in the 41st minute to tie it up heading into the halftime break.

For the match, La Salle held a 16-12 advantage in shots and a 5-2 edge in shots on goal. La Salle also earned a 7-4 edge in corner kicks, including six in the first half.

O'Connell (6-10-1, 3-5-0 A-10) made two saves in the full-match effort.

Saint Joseph's seven seniors - Diane, forward Ted Foley, midfielder Bliss Harris, goalkeeper Jay Higbee, Irvin, midfielder Eric Jordan, and Stuski - were honored prior to the start of the match for their dedication to the program over their four-year careers on Hawk Hill.

"Our seniors played excellent today," added D'Ambra. "They played with a lot of heart and purpose. The seniors come in and learn the culture of working hard and playing for each other. These guys worked really hard every day and were very dependable. They held everyone and themselves accountable. These guys are going to be successful in life. I'm proud of how they've grown and what they've done this year. I'm sad to see that they haven't reaped the rewards of their hard work and excellent leadership."

Saint Joseph's will close out the regular season in non-conference action at Yale this Wednesday, November 2. Start time at Reese Stadium in New Haven, Conn. is slated for 7:00 p.m.

MATCH NOTES: Senior midfielder Sam Irvin netted his third career goal... Sophomore forward Derek MacKinnon recorded his fifth career goal and fourth career assist... Senior defender Stuski registered his fourth career assist, while senior forward Mori Diane recorded his first career helper on MacKinnon's scoring play... Senior forward Ted Foley played a season-high 90 minutes in his first start of the season... Junior forward Jack Lee played a season-high 15 minutes off the bench.

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