Arboleda helps P.C. win soccer playoff opener
Pawtucket's Wilder Arboleda
PROVIDENCE â€” Wilder Arboleda demonstrated the proper way of turning the page Thursday afternoon as Providence College routed St. Peterâ€™s of New Jersey, 6-2, in the first round of the NCAA Division I Menâ€™s Soccer Tournament.
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Arboleda, a Pawtucket native and Tolman High graduate, tallied two goals as the Friars travel to face No. 16 Ohio State this Sunday afternoon in the second round.
â€śBasically we found a way to get it done. We were all business and had a lot of focus,â€ť said Arboleda, mentioning his cheering section at Glay Field consisted of parents Wilman Arboleda and Niyereth Espinal and his two siblings, one of whom â€“ Jeison Arboleda â€“ is currently a senior at Tolman.
For Arboleda, his productive day came on the heels of missing a penalty kick that would have added another round to the shootout needed to decide Sundayâ€™s Big East Championship against Louisville. Providence nearly succeeded in capturing its first conference title, tying Louisville, 1-1, in double overtime at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The Cardinals claimed the title, prevailing 3-2 in penalty kicks.
Arboleda noted that the Friars were able to put the shootout loss to the Cardinals quickly behind them upon receiving word that they were tournament bound.
â€śWe were so distraught (Sunday) that we wanted to find a way to get back,â€ť he said. â€ś(Yesterday) was a way for us to get ourselves back in a mode of winning and moving on. Obviously we were hoping for the best and expecting the worse (when the bids were released Monday), but we thought we had a good chance.â€ť
Though it had been 15 matches since Arboleda, a sophomore midfielder for PC head coach Chaka Daley, had registered a goal, he was able to rediscover his early-season form of being opportunistic around the opposing teamâ€™s goal. He netted his fourth goal of the season to give the Friars a 2-0 lead in the 26th minute of the first half and then tallied his second goal of the match in the 54th minute, creating a 4-0 cushion.
Arboledaâ€™s first goal resulted from a bad exchange of communication between two St. Peterâ€™s defenders and goalkeeper Carlos Suarez. The Pawtucket native intercepted the touch pass to the Peacoack netminder and tucked the ball home at 25:24.
â€śMy coaches are always telling me to take chances and expect (opponents) to make a mistake or two. I was basically following what they told me to do,â€ť said Arboleda. â€śI happened to be running (towards the net) when (St. Peterâ€™s) made the pass backwards and I was just put it in the net.
â€śIt felt great and gave me a ton of confidence,â€ť said Arboleda when asked how it felt to be back in the scoring column. â€śItâ€™s just a good feeling.â€ť
The second goal also sprung from Arboleda taking an aggressive route. PC striker Matt Marcin knocked down a Peacock clearing attempt, sending the ball over to the left flank to Arboleda. The Peacock defense froze, anticipating an offside infraction. The Friars kept playing as Arboleda unleashed a short side left shot from eight yards out that nestled into the right corner.
â€ś(Marcin) made a really good play and the defenders sort of collided,â€ť said Arboleda a few hours after the Friars recorded the programâ€™s second-ever NCAA Tournament win. â€śAll I had to do was tap it in the net. It was a great group effort and I was able to finish at the end.â€ť
The road doesnâ€™t get any easier for Arboleda and the Friars, hence why the former Tiger is taking the simplistic route when analyzing PCâ€™s prospects against the Buckeyes.
â€śHopefully our season goes on,â€ť said Arboleda.