Men close out historic season with 15-3 record

Rietveld, Roros among eight seniors honored for Senior Day


Photo by Mallory Neil

Senior Wessel Rietveld gives chase to a ball at the Montour Junction Sports Complex on senior day versus Brescia. Rietveld is one of eight seniors who played their last game on Saturday.

Written By Rachael McKriger, Staff Writer

Another regular season has come and gone for the Point Park men’s soccer team. Now, after finishing the season with a 15-3 record, the team awaits their playoff fate.

With three matches in the span of six days, the Pioneers suffered one loss, but rebounded with two victories at home. Point Park began their week with a road trip to Rio Grande, Ohio. Initially the match was supposed to be played on Oct. 26. However, severe weather caused the match to move to last Monday.

Point Park suffered their biggest loss of the season and their only second-straight loss of the season. Rio Grande — nationally ranked at No. 14 — put up 10 goals against the Pioneers, who scored two goals. Scoring didn’t kick off right away, though. Rio Grande found their first goal in the 28th minute, while Mitchell Roell came back to tie it for the Pioneers in the 31st minute.

However, Rio Grande ran away with the match, scoring four goals. The Pioneers tried to pick up momentum with a goal from Alan Pinho Martins, but Rio Grande came back with five unanswered goals.

Senior defender/midfielder Kakanou Fotie said the loss was tough.

“I think the injuries to the team definitely played a part on us not being at our best above all,” Fotie said. “We came out slow and they started out strong. That was the case for the entire game. I felt as though, we as a group, gave up a little toward the end. But, nonetheless, it happens. We just had to move on and play better the next game.”

Meanwhile, Roell said the week was not ideal.

“We were fully prepared to play on Saturday and we were all about to get on the bus when we found out the game would be postponed,” Roell said. “We had previously played on Thursday, so it was nice to get some rest, especially for me since I missed that game and the game prior to an ankle injury. We didn’t get the result we wanted.”

Despite the loss, the Pioneers brushed off their road trip and moved on to face Cincinnati Christian University. The team’s final two matches would be held at home, but not at Highmark Stadium. Instead, Point Park headed back out to the Montour Sports Junction Complex. On Halloween, the Pioneers picked up a crucial 3-1 victory with goals from Roell and Geert Bijl.

Photo by Mallory Neil
Senior goalkeeper Niko Roros throws the ball to a teammate after making a save against Brescia on Saturday.

“The win against Cincinnati Christian was essential for our hopes at making the national tournament,” Roell said. “Our goal was to win any way possible and we are always trying to focus on the games we are playing that day, and not worry too much about the last game or the next game.”

Roell said both of his goals were “perfectly” set up by his teammates. On the first goal, Lloyd van Wees and Sam Truchot provided the assists. Then, on the second goal, Bijl added the assist for his teammate. Roell said that Bijl has been a force for the Pioneers.

“Geert has been having a great year, and our offense has been great all year as well,” Roell said. “We are two very different types of players, but on the field during games it has been working great. Having him play up top with me has allowed me to play off him well, and I always have confidence he’ll find the back of the net.”

Meanwhile, senior midfielder Wessel Rietveld said that Bijl is always guaranteed a goal when going one-on-one.

“His runs are really dangerous and his shot is incredible,” Rietveld said. “If he faces the goalkeeper, I can guarantee you it’s a goal.”

Point Park closed out the regular season with a 4-0 victory and a clean sheet over Brescia University. Bijl found the back of the net again, along with three other different goal scorers: Daan Stormink, Ndayisenga Emmanuel and Ibrokhim Mirzakhonov. All of the team’s goals came in the second half.

Point Park is not eligible for the RSC playoffs, but could potentially book their ticket to the NAIA national tournament with their 15-3 record. Should the Pioneers make the NAIA Tournament, they will compete on Nov. 22-23 in the opening round.