BY Michael Contento
As the Sacred Heart University Men’s Soccer team continues Northeast Conference (NEC) play, they look to improve on their non-conference slate of their season. With the non-conference portion of the schedule behind them, the Pioneers find themselves at 1-8 through their first nine games, including 0-2 in conference play following losses to Merrimack College and Bryant University.
Segundo Navarro has been one of the bright spots of the team. Navarro, a sophomore from Alicante, Spain, leads the team with three goals scored, one of which coming in their win against St. Peter’s University on Sept. 11. He currently has scored three of the team’s four goals scored on the season. Navarro is more concerned with turning around the season than personal accolades.
“We have to believe. That’s the most important thing in soccer. We know all the games in conference will be very competitive and we will be ready,” Navarro said.
According to head coach Joe Barroso, the Pioneers need to receive solid play from all eleven players on the pitch if they want to turn around this season.
“We’ve had some very positive performances and periods within games, which we can take confidence from, and need to bring that level of intensity and consistency for 90 minutes,” Barroso said.
Barroso has also noticed the positives of a young team that is gelling together. According to Athletic Communications, the Pioneers have had 8 new players that had made one start thus far on the year. For Barroso, the integration of new players to a program is all about gradual improvement.
“With 10 incoming players, we’re young and are looking for improvement to the consistency of our performances from game to game,” Barroso said.
Barroso also said that the team will benefit as some players come back from injury and create depth for the team.
One of those young players is freshman Olaf Conforti, who has one assist and has started all nine games so far this year.
“We’ve played positive halves of soccer throughout the season. I believe if we can play consistently well in both halves, we can achieve good results over the rest of the season,” Conforti said.
Conforti is not only looking forward to turning things around this season, but the seasons to come on Park Avenue Field. Conforti is one of eight freshmen on the team this season, and with sophomore leaders such as Segundo Navarro and Jean Gabriel Pierazzi, the future looks very bright for the Pioneers with a young core.
“A lot of the younger guys have had the opportunity to play this year which provides a good outlook on our teams future,” Conforti said.
The Pioneers look to get back into the win column when they continue conference play and begin a three-game homestand. Sacred Heart will play host to Long Island University (LIU) on Sept. 6, Fairleigh Dickinson University on Oct. 11, and Mount Saint Mary’s University on Oct. 18.