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The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Men’s soccer starts off on wrong foot with 1-2 start

Camil+Azzam+Ruiz+hat+trick+is+the+Gaels+sixth+dating+back+to+2001.
Photo courtesy of ionagaels.com
Camil Azzam Ruiz’ hat trick is the Gaels’ sixth dating back to 2001.

The Iona men’s soccer team holds a 1-2 record following three non-conference games to begin the season.  

 

Lofty expectations were placed on the Maroon and Gold heading into the 2023 campaign, as they were ranked second behind Quinnipiac University on the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Quinnipiac received nine of the 11 possible first-place votes. The ranking comes after Iona fell to Quinnipiac in last year’s MAAC Championship Game. 

 

Two of the Maroon and Gold’s own players, sophomore Sergio Gonzalez Fernandez and junior Tim Timchenko, were named to the Preseason All-MAAC Team.  

 

The Gaels opened the season Aug. 24 with a matchup against No. 15 Virginia at Klockner Stadium. The game was a tight, defensive battle throughout, but Virginia’s Daniel Mangarov broke the scoreless tie with a goal in the 70th minute. Mangarov’s shot hit the top-right post before falling just over the line for a goal.  

 

Iona’s defense was peppered with 24 shots, including 13 on goal, but junior goalkeeper Nacho Alfaro Monge kept his cool with 12 recorded saves.  

 

Graduate forward Camil Azzam Ruiz had Iona’s lone chance at the net in the 85th minute, his third shot of the day. Rookie midfielder Jad Benjelloun also recorded a shot in his collegiate debut.  

 

Following the low-scoring affair in Virginia, the Gaelsheaded to Stony Brook for their second game of the season. 

 

Ruiz kicked off the scoring in the 34th minute with his first goal of the contest. Graduate transfer Lans Bovenberg assisted Ruiz, handing him his first career point as a Gael.  

 

Stony Brook tied the game early in the second half, knotting the score at one goal apiece.  

 

Ruiz drew blood once again a mere two minutes later, hitting the back of the net after an assist from fellow graduate student Matias Morales. Ruiz capped off his landmark afternoon with a final goal in the 67th minute, taking feeds from Morales and junior Thiago Cagna before the shot. Ruiz’ hat trick is the first such feat for Iona since Ignacio Maganto’s performance on Oct.12, 2013, versus Rider.  

 

The Gaels finally reached the end of their three-game, non-conference road trip with a visit to George Washington University on Sept. 2.  

 

Similarly to the season-opener against Virginia, goals were hard to come by. The Revolutionaries scored in the 79th minute to take a 1-0 lead, one that would stick the rest of the way.  

 

Iona outshot George Washington, however, as Ruiz once again led the way with six shots on net. George Washington’s goalkeeper, Duncan Wagner, stopped all 10 of the Gaels’ total attempts.  

 

Iona’s first home game at Mazzella Field will come on Sept. 9 as they host the Bryant University Bulldogs.  

 

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Robert Hughes
Robert Hughes, Sports Editor

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