Panthers win in Arena’s first match as head coach

Photo by Jasen Delgado

Photo by Jasen Delgado

Francisco Rivero/ Contributing Writer

The Panthers began the Kenny Arena era with a 2-0 win over visiting Bryant University.

Despite out shooting the Bulldogs 14-5 Arena, the head coach of the squad, still wishes that his team could have capitalized on some more scoring opportunities.

“We created a lot of chances, I wish we scored more goals but I was really happy with our energy going forward,” said Arena. “I thought we where dangerous, I wish we could have had a couple more dangerous plays.”

At the 14-minute mark, FIU got their first lead of the game on a corner kick by junior Nicolas Rodriguez who connected on a header to sophomore Quentin Albrecht who buried it at the back of the net.

Albrecht, who has been described by Arena as someone who is not happy unless he scores in a game, connected on his second goal of the game at the 59-minute mark off a double assist by senior Lucas Di Croce and senior Chris Lamarre.

However, Albrecht didn’t even expect that he would wind up with the ball.

“We just made eye contact and we knew what the other was thinking. I got the ball on a straight shot and was lucky enough to make it count.”

For the Panthers, they brought Arena’s European style to life; A style that involves having ball control and attacking quickly when close to the opponents goal.

Attack they did. In just the first period, the Panthers out shot the Bulldogs 9-2 with four corner kicks while Bryant had none.

The Panthers’ quick attacking style didn’t come without adversity. The Bulldogs wound up collecting four yellow cards while the Panthers were tagged with two. The most notable fouls was a collision between Defender Matthew D’ Amelio from Bryant and Albrecht. However, this comes as no surprise for Arena.

“In the second half, you’re always going to have hard fouls,” said Arena. “I’m happy that no one got hurt and the referees did a great job in making sure no one got hurt.”

Another notable highlight to this game was the playing time of five freshmen, including goalie Robin Spiegel who started over sophomore Rodney Greiling and junior Eric Reyes.

“We found Robin from a connection I know in Germany and we got him committed around June,” Arena said. “We are always recruiting and when someone calls us we go check them out.”

For Arena, it’s all about taking it one week at a time and that includes planning out the playing time between his players.

“At this point in the season, we started who we felt was doing the best and like I told the guys, it’s game by game and practice by practice,” Arena said. “We will start fresh on Monday and we will get back to work on practices.”

Arena also mentioned that he would take into account this game and reward who did well tonight.

For the Panthers, it was a solid start to the season but Arena knows all to well that this was just one game.

“It was a very good day and a sound start to the year but I told the guys we are only 1/18 done,” said Arena. “So that’s why I’m not super excited but I’m happy that we won and happy to get the season off to a good note.”

About the Author

Francisco Rivero
: FIU Student Media Sports Director, Co-Host of Panther Sports Talk Live, Sports and Opinion writer, Communications major.

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