Story by Mark Musgrave III, Sports Editor
After a heartbreaking loss in the WHAC Tournament a few weeks ago, the Aquinas Men’s Soccer team’s season has come to a close. However, there is a lot to discuss this season. Let’s work backward, starting with the loss to Madonna. After regulation, both teams lacked a goal which led to overtime. Surprisingly, overtime was scoreless as well, which resulted in a series of penalty kicks. Madonna scored all four penalty kicks outdueling AQ to two, a shameful result after the Crusaders had zero shots on goal in the second half and overtime, as well as a lead in corner kicks. This ended in a hard-fought finish for the Saints after what would have been a No. 1 seed upset. AQ was the fourth seed for the second year in a row, while also placing fourth in the conference for back-to-back seasons.
In the opening round, it was a 5-0 breeze for the Saints against Lawrence Tech with the home-field advantage for the Saints. Senior forward Jai Tahlan had the highlight of the year with a strike from 30+ yards out from the net. It was so stellar, it’s worth the ESPN Sportscenter highlight reel. You can see the shot for yourself on @aqsaints Instagram or @AQMensSoccer.
Jumping ahead, on Saturday, three Saints were awarded First Team All-WHAC-Honors:
Jesunifemi Ojutalayo – defender
Played 19 games this season. In 10 of those games, he held a shutout.
Theo Maye – midfielder
The third time he’s received this honor. Leads WHAC with 12 assists. Seventh in NAIA. Six goals.
Mason Sills – forward
Scored 10 goals this season, placing third in the WHAC with three assists.
Off the field, two Saints were College Sports Commissioner Academic Scholar Athletes. Holding a 3.5+ Grade Point Average are junior Ricardo Rittersberger and senior captain Antonio Strassioto.
The stats show that this team played their best at home, with a record of 6-2-1. That’s an unsurprising claim considering the evidence. Anyone who has ever set foot on the Athletic field here at Aquinas College knows how rowdy we Saints get in the stands.
Their season ended with a .575 win percentage equivalent to a 10-7-3 record. An astonishing 12 seniors are graduating this season, presenting a challenge to next year’s squad. Men’s Soccer is looking forward to a strong work ethic this offseason leading up to the next season!