Gannon University’s men’s soccer team marked its territory in the PSAC with two big wins last week against the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown and Bloomsburg University.
After notching their first two wins of the season last week – a 3-2 road victory over Pitt-Johnstown Wednesday and a 3-0 shutout of Bloomsburg Saturday at McConnell Family Stadium – the Knights improved to 3-4 with a 3-1 nonconference win over Daemen College Tuesday night at home.
On Wednesday, the Knights traveled to Johnstown with a chip on their shoulders, and they quickly got the jump on the Mountain Cats with two goals in the first 10 minutes.
The first goal came off Gannon’s George Stannard’s free kick from the top right of the box at 5 minutes. The Knights capitalized on another chance as sophomore forward Mathias Krigbaum chipped a shot over Mountain Cat goaltender Nate Kleya into the back-left corner of the net at 9 minutes.
Krigbaum played with great intensity and noted that the team “had to give everything [they] had to start the PSAC with a win.”
Krigbaum also noted that great offensive play has been the key to Gannon’s recent success.
The Knights continued to play hard through the first half, scoring their third and final goal off Alex Lee Yaw’s pass across the middle, which was netted by senior defender Luis Driemel.
At the start of the second half, the Mountain Cats attempted to claw back into the game as John Knox evaded the Gannon defense and managed to find the back of the net at 58 minutes.
Knowing the importance of this first PSAC win, the Knights’ defense remained resilient throughout the remainder of the game. Gannon allowed only one more goal on a penalty kick in the 81st minute.
The Knights showed obvious determination throughout the match, attacking the Cats’ defense with 31 shots on the game — a record that has been matched only once before in 2014 by the Knights against Lock Haven.
Gannon maintained its perfect record against Pitt-Johnstown, improving to 5-0 all time.
After this first big win the Knights showed an obvious boost in team confidence while continuing their success against another PSAC opponent, the Bloomsburg Huskies.
Krigbaum initiated the Knights’ shutout with a penalty kick goal launched into the Huskies’ net in the 15th minute of play.
Krigbaum continued being involved in the Knights’ success as he made an artful pass to teammate Lee Yaw, who launched a deep, 30-foot rocket around the Husky defense and into the net nine minutes later.
The Knights didn’t hesitate in their offensive attack in the second half, as Krigbaum scored an open net goal that deflected off Husky goalkeeper Taylor Lesage 16 minutes into the second half.
Proving to be an obvious team leader, Krigbaum has recorded four goals so far this season and an average of 1.5 points per game.
The win came largely as a result of great defensive play as the Knights allowed only eight Husky shots while applying heavy pressure with 26 attempts of their own. Those shots brought several good scoring chances.
Up next, the Knights will host Shippensburg at 3:30 p.m. Friday at McConnell Family Stadium.