Iona men’s soccer makes mixed start to season


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The team failed to qualify for the MAAC championships last year finishing a disappointing 9th in the regular season.

Jordan Score and Lachlan Wellington

The Iona men’s soccer team began the season with a 1-2 record after defeats against Syracuse and Long Island University (LIU) and a home victory against New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).  

Iona opened the season with a 0-2 defeat against Syracuse despite a good game in goal for Juan Alfaro Monge who faced 19 shots and made five saves.  

The Gaels then lost a close affair 1-2 against LIU. After falling 0-2 behind, Sergio Gonzalez Fernandez pulled a goal back from a penalty kick, but it was not enough to prevent the Gaels going 0-2.  

Iona got their first victory of the season in New Rochelle against NJIT, winning the game 3-2. All the goals came in the first half. After NJIT went ahead at 21 minutes the Gaels equalized just 37 seconds later through Camil Azzam Ruiz, before Sergio Gonzalez Fernandez put them ahead at 25 minutes. NJIT then pegged the Gaels back 23 seconds later to make it 2-2. Defender Kendell Thomas scored what turned out to be the winning goal one minute before half time to complete the comeback victory and first of the season for the Gaels.  

The game against NJIT was the Gaels’ first home game since ending their season last year at Mazzella Field losing to Saint Peter’s in double overtime by a score of 1-0 resulting in them not qualifying for the MAAC tournament.  

Iona men’s soccer is ranked ninth in the preseason poll behind number one ranked Marist College, Rider University, Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University, Siena College, Niagara University, Saint Peter’s University and Manhattan College, respectively. Canisius and Mount St. Mary’s round out the preseason poll as they are ranked ten and eleven. 

Senior Camil Azzam Ruiz was selected to the preseason ALL-MAAC team, Ruiz top scored for the Gaels last season with ten goals in 17 games, and he also had three assists. 

The Iona Men’s Soccer team welcome nine new freshman this year with the additions of Loukas Georgiou, Sergio Gonzalez Fernandez, Frederik Johnson Oee, Joe Wright, Peter Scharstein, Alem Kolenovic, Tom Fillaudeau, George Popovic and Dino Feratovic. 

Wright played in the Gaels’ first game against Syracuse for a total of thirty-four minutes generating the only two shots on goal for Iona. Gonzalez Fernandez scored the lone goal for Iona against LIU in their second game of the season while playing for ninety minutes.  

Next up for the Gaels they are back on the road facing off against Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts on Sept. 10. Last season Iona and Holy Cross tied one goal apiece. 

The Gaels will host New Hampshire on Sept. 14 and Columbia on Sept. 24 before beginning MAAC play against Marist, the top team in the preseason poll. Iona is 2-4 against New Hampshire dating back to 2002 and 2-2 against Columbia since 2006. 

After their game with Columbia the Gaels will play ten straight games against MAAC opponents. Iona will play five games at home and five games away.  

Iona will be playing at home against Marist on Oct. 1, Rider on Oct. 5, Manhattan on Oct. 8, Niagara on Oct. 19 and Fairfield on Oct. 26. Last season Iona beat Marist 3-2, lost 1-0 to Rider, tied Manhattan one goal apiece, lost to Niagara 1-0 and lost 2-0 to Fairfield.  

The Gaels will be playing away against Canisius on Oct. 12, Quinnipiac on Oct. 15, Sienna on Oct. 22, Mount St. Mary’s on Oct. 29, and ending the season at Saint Peter’s on Nov. 2. The previous season Iona lost to Canisius 2-0, beat Quinnipiac 3-1, beat Sienna 3-1, beat Mount St. Mary’s 4-3, and lost to St. Peter’s 1-0.