SPARKILL, N.Y. – In just his second start of the season, junior Saufyane Ilboudo scored his first game-winning goal in Knights colors in the opening five minutes of play, as the Queens College men's soccer team came out blazing. Classmate Paul Hayes effectively shut the door in the 77th minute for a comfortable 2-0 victory in East Coast Conference (ECC) action over the Spartans of St. Thomas Aquinas College on the road Wednesday afternoon.
With the win, Queens picked up its first ECC win of the season after toiling hard in the squad's first three conference encounters to improve to 4-4-1 overall and 1-2-1 in the ECC, while the Spartans fell to 4-5-1 overall (2-2 ECC).
The Knights wasted no time in opening their account, as they capitalized on an overthrow from the Spartans, giving sophomore Cristian Villalta enough time to beat his defender and send a touch pass to Ilboudo for a tap in to beat the diving Jack Nicholson for a quick 1-0 lead.
Villalta continues his rich form with his sixth assist of the season, while Ilboudo scored his first goal of the season. However, the Spartans kept possession of the ball, pressuring the Knights' defense in the first half, as they outshot the Knights 8-2 with three shots on goal but to no avail.
Following an early corner in the second half, a Brad Neal header was saved by an alert Chidiebere Iloka at goal for the Knights. All afternoon the Knights' backline with Iloka remained stubborn, as the Spartans looked to knot the game up. After a foul in the 18-yard box, junior András Breuer's free kick found Hayes, who headed the ball into the upper left corner for his second goal of the season to shut out any comeback for the remainder of regulation.
Despite being at a disadvantage on shots (12-7) and corner kicks (11-10), the Knights hammered home when it mattered most for their first ECC win of the season. Iloka (1-2-0) denied the Spartans on five occasions to earn his first shutout of the season.
UP NEXT: Looking to keep their momentum going, the Knights play host to the nationally sixth-ranked Pioneers of LIU Post (8-0-1 overall, 3-0 ECC) on Saturday, Oct. 7, with kickoff slated for 3 p.m. Last year, the Knights were defeated, 2-0, as the Pioneers scored two goals in the last 20 minutes of regulation.