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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Soccer Log

Redding and able

Men’s Soccer rookie comes to light at opportune point

He and his cleat-clad buds are aiming to prolong it as best they can, to be sure. But the fact is, it won’t be too long before PC's Ryan Maduro starts digging for a follow-up the speculation that his career carries fertile soil beyond Glay Field.

When that day comes, which would be no later than the not-entirely-unfeasible NCAA tournament this December, it will mean the work of the lone current Friar to hail from within Ocean State boundaries (Bristol) and with a nice transcript of individual honors will no longer be valid here.

But now, after an entire season wherein it seemed sophomore Jonathan Medcalf was the lone understudy giving the old “The future is now” declaration, freshman Alex Redding has followed suit in piloting the exponential grind of the 2007 campaign. With three regular season matches left undone, Redding is suddenly the new man for the critical eye, having activated on his touch and not let bar down in the last three games.

The breakout saga began ten days ago, when Redding tilted home an insurance goal towards vanquishing Marquette 2-0, thus snapping a three-game (0-2-1, no goals) slide for Providence.

Three nights later, the still limbo-laden Friars paid what was essentially a can’t-hurt visit to non-conference rival powerhouse Boston College. Kicking things up a mere two miles apart from his alma mater Newton North High, Redding led nostalgia carry him over the collective betting lines and laced home the lone tally marker in a 1-0 upset of the then 9th-ranked Eagles.

He was in the core of the charge once more on Sunday when PC visited and kicked a little more dirt on the Blue Division basement-dwelling Pittsburgh Panthers, collaborating with Maduro to set up Michael Narciso’s eventual winner in a 2-0 knockout. Narciso actually scooped up a rebound of Redding’s initial stab at the keeper, one of his six during his hot streak that, on top of everything else, has nimbly afforded him a team-best .857 shots on goal percentage.

Was there any reward for this? Namely other than cracking his personal goose-eggs, as well as a team spell, and fluffing the pillows of long unstinting goalie Timothy Murray, all towards renewing the shot at preferred playoff momentum?

Try the first two starts of his collegiate career immediately after the Marquette impression followed by the top Big East rookie title for the week of October 22, opposite Murray’s goalkeeping honor of the same caliber.

Their now three-forward strike force that much deeper, and fourth place currently in their grasp, the Friars look to the creeping Seton Hall Pirates (3-4), who come into Wednesday’s match on campus with a game in hand and a four-point deficit for the last home-field slot in the fast-approaching preliminary round after they had snoozed in the cellar through the first portion of the season.

Possible raid

Murray’s of late magic may be a particular requirement more than usual Wednesday. This season, the Seton Hall offense, save for a 2-1 squeeze of Pittsburgh, has either been blanked or gone on a four-plus goal burst this season. During a four-game win streak that was just snapped by Notre Dame last Sunday, they routed Rutgers, Marquette, and non-conference rival Adelphi by respective counts 4-1, 5-1, and 4-0. Kick-off for the Friar-Pirate get together is slated for 3:00.

Now or never for PC Women

Road hostilities have cooled off the women’s team’s late season awakening that put a striking end to their home slate. Having relinquished 4-0 and 1-0 finals at Notre Dame and DePaul last week, their potential make-or-break game for some long inaccessible post-season play lies ahead this Friday night in Syracuse; a subsequent Sunday drop-in on fourth-place St. John’s will be their last call for a three-point rush. Since cracking the win column egg, the Friars have engaged the Orange in a bout for the final round robin berth in the American Division, currently trailing by an 8-6 point count.

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