Men’s Soccer Falls to Saint Louis in A-10 Semifinals

Fordham Men’s Soccer battled toe-to-toe with a nationally ranked Saint Louis squad as penalty kicks put an end to a season in which Fordham Men’s Soccer confronted every challenge that came its way and has nothing to regret.


The Fordham Men’s Soccer team lost in the A-10 semifinals in a 4-2 penalty shootout against Saint Louis (courtesy of Bill Barrett/Atlantic 10).

On Friday, the men’s soccer team’s season came to a close at the A-10 Championship. Fordham had its semifinal match against the nationally ranked and undefeated Saint Louis University. All signs pointed to a titanic clash between the two teams. The last time these two faced off was just a couple of weeks ago, with the Billikens winning 2–0. 

In this semifinal bout, the teams immediately lived up to the expectations. Both teams had chances to score but neither was able to convert. Two chances to score stood out for the Rams. Graduate student defender Matt Sloan had a chance that struck the post, while sophomore defender Galen Flynn had a one-on-one chance against the Billikens goalkeeper Patrick Schulte who parried his shot.

The match was still scoreless after minutes of play and headed into overtime. The golden goal rule is applied there, which means that whoever scores first will win. After both 10 minute periods of overtime, the score remained a goalless draw. Saint Louis had a chance in the dying seconds of overtime but the shot went just wide of the goal and the game went into penalty kicks.

The Rams switched goalkeepers right before the penalty kicks, bringing junior Callum James out to replace redshirt sophomore Nick Buchholz. The Rams started the penalty shootout with graduate student midfielder Jacob Bohm, who slotted his penalty into the right-hand side of the goal. Schulte appeared to get a hand on it, but the shot still went into the back of the net. The Billikens also scored on their first PK, leveling it at 1–1. 

Redshirt senior midfielder Sameer Fathazada took the next penalty, sending Schulte the wrong way as his shot went to the left side of the goal and into the back of the net to make it 2–1. Saint Louis scored its following penalty to even it at two apiece. 

Graduate student defender Luke McNamara was up next for the Rams. Schulte guessed correctly and saved McNamara’s penalty, giving Saint Louis a chance to get ahead in the shootout. They didn’t need a second invitation, scoring their penalty kick to make it 2–3 in favor of the Billikens. In stepped graduate student defender Matt Sloan, whose shot ricocheted off the crossbar, which meant that all Saint Louis needed to do was to score their next penalty to secure a trip to the A-10 championship final.

Saint Louis did just that, making it a 4–2 victory in a penalty shootout over the Rams. When asked about the match, Fordham head coach Carlo Acquista said that he was “super proud of the team. We went up there earlier [in the season] and didn’t do a good job. Overall, we stuck to our gameplan and we almost pulled it off.” 

When asked about the goalkeeper switch between Buchholz and James, Acquista replied that “it was planned. We went with players with experience in shootouts and Callum [James], back at Saint Francis, was in two shootouts and won them both.” 

When asked about the season overall, Acquista said that “this year, we went against seven teams that went onto NCAA’s. I’m super proud of what we’ve done, what we’ve accomplished, how we finished the season, winning five, drawing three and only losing three in our final 11 matches.” 

After the tournament, McNamara was named to the All-Championship team for the second straight year. When asked about McNamara, Acquista said that “a player of that caliber needs to be recognized”. He also added that McNamara “has been unbelievable to be with, around with, to work with … he’s a true Fordham Ram.”

Acquista was also recently inducted into the Holy Cross High School hall of fame. He said that it was a “special moment … being on a team with so many good players taught me so much about the game and taught me to love the game even more.” 

Acquista is already setting goals for the team next season, and will use this offseason to work toward them. “We’ve had committed players come in and we are working on a handful of more,” adding that the team is excited about the spring and the fall. 

The teams’ targets for next year are the same as this year: get to the championship and win. Despite losing in such a fashion this year, the future looks bright for the Rams. Expect them to give it everything they have to achieve their goals.