EDISON, NJ - Iona College senior midfielderFranklin Castellanos posted three goals over two games to help the Gaels clinch a berth in the upcoming 2013 MAAC Men's Soccer Championship in wins over Saint Peter's and Canisius, earning him this week's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week award.
In the 35th minute against the Peacocks, Castellanos tallied the game winner. Castellanos took a long ball in the box, passed his defender and then beat the keeper to give Iona the only goal in the 1-0 win.
Against Canisius, Castellanos would pick up his first career multi-goal game with two scores. In the 38th minute, Castellanos buried a free kick from just outside the penalty box to knot the score at 1-1. Castellanos bent a shot around the defensive wall and beat the Canisius keeper to the upper left corner of the net.
The Maroon & Gold got a key insurance goal in the 85th minute. It was Castellanos again, scoring his eighth tally of the season to give Iona a 3-1 lead. Junior Michael Holzerone-timed a pass to Castellanos who settled the ball and made a nifty chip to himself past his defender before blasting a shot past the Canisius keeper for his second goal of the game.
This season, Castellanos ranks sixth nationally in points with 28 and second overall in assists with 12. Additionally this week, Castellanos, and teammate Tommy Martin, were named to the Capital One All-Academic District 1 First Team, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
The Gaels are currently in the midst of a four game winning streak and have won six of their last seven contests. One match remains in the regular season for Iona when they host Manhattan Wednesday on Senior Day. The game has playoff seeding implications for both teams. The Gaels need a win or tie to seal a No. 2 or No. 3 seed while the Jaspers are fighting for one of the remaining two open spots. With an Iona win and a Qunnipiac loss or tie in one of their two remaining games, the Maroon & Gold can secure the No. 2 seed.