WESTON, Mass. – The Regis College men's soccer team is quickly preparing for its Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament quarterfinal match against Johnson & Wales University after the contest was moved up one day to Friday, Oct. 26, at 4:30 p.m. at the Scotts Miracle-Gro Athletics Complex in Cranston, R.I.
The date and time change happened after administrators from both schools and the conference office looked at a forecast of significant rain and wind all day Saturday, potentially causing hazardous conditions for both student-athletes and spectators. That forecast has also caused the GNAC Cross Country Championships to be pushed back from Saturday to Sunday as well as all other matches in both the men's and women's soccer tournaments to move ahead to Friday or back to Sunday.
Regis is the seventh seed in this year's GNAC Tournament after finishing in a tie for seventh place with Emmanuel in the final regular season standings at 14 points (4-5-2). The Pride earned the higher seed over the Saints thanks to Regis's 1-0 victory Sept. 11.
Overall, Regis enters the postseason with an 8-5-2 overall record, the program's fourth straight winning season. The Pride saw a four-match winning streak snapped last Saturday with a 3-2 loss in the second overtime period to Colby-Sawyer. Regis and Emerson completed 61 minutes of a match Tuesday afternoon before lightning first suspended, then eventually stopped play before the contest became official.
Ken Niyonzima (Dracut, Mass.) leads the Pride with nine goals this season, while Derek Triana (Port St. Lucie, Fla.), Regis's all-time leading scorer, has contributed six goals and one assist. Senior Jesse Bonilla (Ramona, Calif.) has played the vast majority of the season in net for the Pride, posting a 7-5-1 record with a 1.66 goals against average and a .677 save percentage with 44 saves.
Johnson & Wales finished second in the league standings with 25 points (8-2-1) to earn the second seed in the tournament. Overall, the Wildcats are 10-5-3, but they also just saw a four-match winning streak end after losing to Rhode Island College Tuesday, 4-1.
Riley McNicholas leads the Wildcats with nine goals and 19 total points, just ahead of Teagan Drake with eight goals and two assists for 18 total points. JP Rioux has contributed five goals and a team-high five assists for 15 points so far this season.
Nicholas Mancini has started nine matches in net for Johnson & Wales, earning a 5-2-1 record with a 0.99 goals against average and a .735 save percentage. Adam Cassidy has been the Wildcats' starting goalie eight times, owning a 4-2-2 record with a 1.37 GAA and a .750 save percentage.
This will be the fourth meeting all-time between Regis and Johnson & Wales, with the Wildcats winning the previous three contests. In this year's meeting on Sept. 8, Nick Gutekunst earned two goals and an assist and Rioux added a goal and two assists as JWU defeated Regis, 5-0.
This is Regis's second appearance in the GNAC Tournament in as many years, defeating Mount Ida in the quarterfinals last year, 3-1, before losing in the semifinals to Saint Joseph's College. The Pride are 5-6 in conference tournament play in program history between the NECC and the GNAC. Johnson & Wales is making its seventh straight appearance in the GNAC Tournament and 21st appearance overall, winning the league tournament six times, the last time in 2015.
The winner of the Regis-JWU match will face the winner of the quarterfinal contest between sixth seed University of St. Joseph and third seed Norwich taking place in Northfield, Vt., Friday at 7 p.m. The GNAC Tournament semifinals are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 30, followed by the championship match Saturday, Nov. 3, at the highest remaining seed.