ST. LOUIS, Mo.—The Fontbonne University men's soccer team hosts the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Semifinals as the No. 1 seed tomorrow night at Centene Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., against No. 4-seeded Westminster.
The Griffins (13-4-1; 8-1 SLIAC), closed out the regular season on a seven game winning streak which allowed them to claim the 2017 SLIAC Regular Season Championship Title for the first time since 2013.
"There was a good amount of uncertainty surrounding the program when I took over, so I honestly wasn't sure what to expect," said head coach Donnie Alberty. "The fact that the first two weekends were away trips (along with a midweek home match) probably helped us in hindsight. We were able to bond and gel with limited distractions, as well as get some early results. As the season went on, we developed an identity as a skillful, hardworking side."
On the year, the offense has totaled 38 goals and they're led by the duo of Nick Wolf and Greg Ferry with each netting seven on the season. Blake Smugala has played well with his six goals and four assists, while Corey Schmidt's also been a bright spot with his three goals and team-high nine assists.
In net, the duo of Tony Pitaro and Jordan Alberici have been stout. They've combined for 59 saves, a .762 save percentage and a goals against average of a mere 1.03. Alberici is having himself a career year with him leading the SLIAC in save percentage (.848), goals against (five) and goals against average (0.56).
"All of the players in this program are just good guys," added Alberty. "They enjoy being around each other and are very respectful. When a program is full of guys with solid character, they are able to handle the inevitable adversity that going through any sports season will produce. We have continued to persevere when we have needed to. That is due to the guys, specifically the senior leaders."
The last time FBU and Westminster played was back on October 18th and the Griffins were able to come away with a 3-2 victory. The Blue Jays outshot the Griffins 17-9 in the outing and tied the game at 2-2 in the 63rd minute, however, a goal from Wolf, his second of the day, gave Fontbonne the lead for good.
On the season, Westminster, closed out the final month of play 4-3-1. The teams' compiled 39 goals on the year and they're led by Daniel Barone's nine goals and 21 points. Brandon Rettke and Patrick Wisnewski will be two other players to keep an eye-out-for with their five goals each.
In goal, Connor Bandre has appeared in 13 games and made four starts thus far. He's been able to take advantage leading the team in wins (four), save percentage (.740) and goals against average (1.40).
"There is no hiding from the fact that Westminster has been the team to beat for a few years now," Alberty stated. "We fully expect that they will come here ready to play as well as they can. Until someone beats them in the tournament, they are the favorites to return to win the title again."
Fans make sure to stay updated on fontbonnegriffins.com tomorrow night for a full recap and score from Centene Stadium.