By Michael Otero
The LIU Post men’s soccer team was selected as the preseason favorite to win a third-straight East Coast Conference crown in 2014 in a coaches’ poll. The Pioneers were the unanimous favorite to land the top spot based on their track record in the last few seasons. The Green and Gold have won two straight ECC Championships, three in the last five years, and last season they spent four weeks as No. 1 in the country.
The Pioneers took their preseason accolades and went into battle against the Owls of Southern Connecticut State University on Thursday, Sept. 4. It was the first match of the season for both sides. The Owls did not waste any time on offense as they scored just 72 seconds into the contest. Sophomore defender Alex Soriano sent a cross to the middle
of the field where fellow sophomore forward Kevin Joslyn was able to head the ball passed the LIU goalkeeper. The goal made it 1-0, putting the pressure on the Pioneers early, as they would have to climb out of an early hole.
Freshman Owl keeper Noah Veronier kept the explosive Pioneers offensive off the board, posting his first career shutout at a collegiate level. The Pioneers’ best chance to score came late in the second half, as senior forward Eivind Austboe got behind the defense and was able to get off a shot that sailed over the crossbar. The goal early in the game stood as the Owls defeated the Pioneers 1-0.
The Pioneers returned to action on Saturday, Sept. 6 to face the Panthers of Adelphi University. The Pioneers exploded for five goals, four of which came from Austboe. Austboe and company wasted no time getting the scoring started, as they scored the fifth-fastest goal in NCAA Division II history just nine seconds into the game. After a second goal late in the first half by Austboe, the visitors pushed their lead to 2-0, and were in great position to take the victory.
The second half was more of the same from the Pioneers. Austboe sent his third shot passed the goalkeeper, making it 3-0. A little over
two minutes later, freshman forward Jason Lampkin found the back of the net off an assist from Austboe. The goal was the first at the collegiate level for Lampkin. The exclamation point for the Pioneers came when Austboe scored his fourth goal of the contest off a precise pass from junior midfielder Matias Ruiz. The goal made it 5-0, which was the final score in the contest.
As a team, the Pioneers dominated the Panthers as they outshot them 14-5, and doubled them in shots on goal. Junior goalkeeper Jesper Malstrom made three saves and kept the Panthers off the board, earning his first win as a Pioneer.
Coach Andreas Lindberg and the Pioneers hit the field next on Thursday, Sept. 11, when they travel to Bridgeport, Conn. to take part in the Purple Knight Classic, hosted by the University of Bridgeport. LIU will square off against the Warriors of Merrimack College at 4 p.m.