SFU men’s soccer clinch their third consecutive GNAC title with win over SMU

A brace from Matteo Polisi and a disciplined second half performance is all SFU needed to get past Saint Martin’s

The Clan are still undefeated with a perfect 13–0–0 record this season. (Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics)

By: Victor Gouchee

For the SFU men’s soccer team, the 2018 season has been one to remember so far. They have begun the season 13–0–0 and are the #1 ranked team in the entire NCAA DII. Their winning streak continued on Saturday as they handled Saint Martin’s University on Terry Fox Field.

The game began slow and nervy, with both teams misplacing passes and failing to find a groove. It didn’t last long, however, as the Clan broke the tie in the 14th minute when senior Mamadi Camara scored his 8th goal of the season. A run down the left flank by SFU junior Rahid Rahiem was capped by a beautiful cross in for Camara, who powered a header past the outstretched Saints goalkeeper.

Just over a minute later, the floodgates opened for SFU as sophomore Matteo Polisi blasted in a rocket from 25 yards out, which skipped by the goalkeeper. The pressure from SFU was too much for SMU to handle as in the 20th minute Matteo Polisi notched his second of the game and conference leading 17th goal of the season. The SMU goalkeeper made a nice save off of an initial shot, then after a mad scramble, the ball popped out to Matteo Polisi, who got a shot through the scrum and found the back of the net.

In less than seven minutes, the Clan opened up a 3–0 lead halfway through the first half — a lead that ultimately put the game out of reach for Saint Martin’s.

Tempers rose near the end of the half, as SFU captain Marcello Polisi received his second yellow on a questionable decision by the referee. As a result, SFU was forced to see out the entire second half down a man.

The second half continued with high tempers, as the game consisted of several late challenges and nine yellow cards being handed out. The game was a more even match in the second half while SFU was short-handed, yet the Clan were still able to muster the better chances. The Saints created a late surge in an attempt to grab a consolation goal, but only managed three shot attempts, with a single free kick from 25 yards out as their lone shot on target. SFU goalkeeper Luciano Trasolini earned his 10th clean sheet of the season while only being forced to make one save throughout the contest.

The victory on Saturday night saw SFU clinch their third straight GNAC title. The clan sit on top of the conference standings with 24 points, while Montana State Billings are in second place on 13 points. The clan are happy to repeat as GNAC champions, but still have their eyes set on the grand prize of National Champions.

What’s next:

The Clan’s season continues next week as SFU will host Seattle Pacific and Northwest Nazarene in their last two home games of the season, both kicking off at 7 p.m. on Terry Fox Field, before finishing the regular season on the road with two matches at Western Washington and Montana State.

Peak player of the game: Mamadi Camara

With a goal and an assist, Camara played a crucial role in the win for the Clan. He leads the GNAC with 12 assists in 14 games played.