October 11, 2019...WELLAND - The Knights men's soccer team got a huge monkey of their backs last night with a 4-3 win over the Conestoga Condors. The win marks the Knights second win of the year, with just one game left to play in the regular season next week.
The Condors struck first early in the first half, before first-year player David Bandura (Welland) hit a screamer past the Condors' keeper to tie things up at 1-a-piece.
Bandura's goal seemed to be the lift the Knights needed to get going, and earn praise from his coach and teammates for doing so.
"David has worked so hard this year," said head coach Frank DeCheillis. " He organized his school and work schedule to make soccer possible. We couldn't be happier for him."
From there, Oti Frigole took over and popped in three straight goals to end the half with the Knights leading 4-2.
Conestoga would add one more late in the second half, but the Knights would hang on to earn a much needed 4-3 win.
"That team would not go away and forced us to put in a full 90 minutes," said DeChellis. "Both teams were in the same boat last night so for all intents and purposes, it was a playoff game."
Goal keeper Romario James (3rd year, Bahamas) also had a solid game for the Knights, coming up with huge saves to keep his team in the lead.
Frigole's three goal performance places him in the Knights history books as the all-time leading scorer for the men's soccer program with 17 goals in just his second season with the Knights. The previous record of 15 was held by Carlos Williams (2013-15;2018-2018). Frigole now sits with six goal in the six games he's suited up with the Knights this season.
With the big win and the record, Frigole credited his team's effort to make that happen.
"What can I say, tonight was a great night," said Frigole. "We knew it was a big night with a lot of pressure. I'm truly thankful for the collective effort of this group from last year and this year that has allowed me to break the record of all-time goal scorer."
"I came to Niagara to play the game I love and to hopefully leave my mark here at this school for the years to come. Thank you for everyone whose helped me along the way these past two years"
DeChellis, who recruited Frigole out of Governor Simcoe Secondary, was thrilled for his top scorer.
It's nice when you have individual moments in team sports. Soccer is not as statistic-rich as some other sports, but goals are huge, said DeChellis. "Oti is a goal scorer and those are hard to find. He has left his mark on our program, and I hope this occasion deepens his relationship with Niagara College, soccer and teamwork in general. When you are the point of the attack there are 10 hard-working players behind you and Oti acknowledged that when his team celebrated with him."
The Knights are in a must-win situation with just one game remaining on their regular season schedule and a 2-6 record. Niagara will host Redeemer College (1-7) next Wednesday evening at 8:00 PM.