by John Pierri
The Benedictine men’s soccer team lost 2-1 in its first playoff contest to the Milwaukee School of Engineering on Saturday, ending their 2011 season with an overall record of 8-9-2 and a 5-4-2 record in conference.
Just like last season, the Eagles dropped their first round playoff game to the Raiders. MSOE took an early 1-0 lead in the first half, but sophomore forward Jesse Ortiz tied the game at one with his 63rd minute goal. A controversial foul called on the Eagles in the last minute of regulation led to a penalty kick for the Raider’s Dan Hosko, and Hosko scored the game winning goal that ended the Eagle’s season.
The penalty kick was very controversial in the eyes of the Eagle players.
“The game versus MSOE was great besides the fact that the referees gave them the game,” said senior captain Izzy Castro. “We were the better team with all the ball possession but the ref gave them a penalty kick with a minute and a half left and took away a goal [from the Eagles] with 20 seconds left, to sum it up the refs gave them the win.”
“It was extremely controversial,” added senior captain David Bock. “With about a minute and a half remaining, the ref awarded a penalty for a handball in the box, and they converted. That was a questionable call itself because he was going away from goal and it was incidental, and usually refs don’t want to decide close games let alone playoff games on something like that.”
Despite the disappointing loss to MSOE, the Eagles made the playoffs in two straight years after not having a winning season for 15 years.
“I feel like our program has a bright future, and I think that as long as the younger guys take over the fight and the attitude to never quit that some of our older guys have had all along, we will be going places very soon,” explained Bock. “A few bounces our way, and our season wouldn’t be over, but that is sports and that’s life. How our returning players remember this and respond and bounce back stronger next year is what will be important.”
“Overall this season was amazing, two times in a row that we go to playoffs and this season we proved that we could play against anyone,” added Castro. “We proved to the conference that they have to come out and play because we always come out looking for the win. The group of guys we had this year were amazing I couldn’t ask for more they were great inside and outside the field, we gave everything for each other. Best season Benedictine has seen in a while by far.”
Aside from Castro and Bock, Franco Merenda, Orlando Esparza and Dave Mickiewicz also are graduating seniors. All of them played a large role in the success of the Eagles 2011 playoff run.