The Gannon University men’s soccer team saw its eight-game unbeaten streak come to an end after losing two consecutive Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference matches to conference-leading West Chester and crosstown rival Mercyhurst – both by 1-0 scores.
During the previous week, the Knights kept their streak alive by beating Seton Hill, 2-1 in overtime, and edging East Stroudsburg, 1-0.
As a result, Gannon stands 7-6-1 overall and is insecond place in the PSAC by one point, with a 6-2-1 conference mark. The Knights will travel to Salem, W. Va., Thursday to meet Salem International in a 3 p.m. nonconference match.
Gannon will return to PSAC play by hosing Lock Haven at 6 p.m. Saturday in a Senior Night matchup at McConnell Family Stadium.
In the win over Seton Hill, Gannon’s Baran Kilic sailed a deep ball into the left corner for his second goal of the year early in overtime to seal the win.
Mathias Krigbaum landed Gannon’s first goal late in the first half. The Griffins scored an early goal after halftime on a finessed dribbled shot 10 yards deep.
Gannon displayed an impressive defensive effort at home versus East Stroudsburg on Oct. 8. Eduardo de Bonis Encinoso found his third goal of the season off a long 40-yard pass by Joshua Ott at the 20th minute.
The Knights were outshot 11-10, but impressive play by goalie Jorge Hernandez played a key role in their success. Hernandez now has 10 career shutouts, tying him for fifth all-time in Gannon men’s soccer history.
On Friday, the Knights fell short in a tight match against 13th-ranked West Chester, ending their eight-game unbeaten streak that began on Sept. 13.
Krigbaum was first to attack the Rams with an early shot in the fourth minute, but the attempt flew wide left of the mark. The Knights only managed one additional shot before the half, going into the locker room outshot, 3-2.
The Rams scored the only goal of the match in the 70th minute with a cross pass by Daniel Grindrod that met the foot of Jason Pixley for a quick deflection into the net.
Gannon refused to let its streak end without a challenge as Ott and Kilic both managed attempts in the final five minutes of play. Ott’s shot flew high of the goal and Kilic justmissed wide right of the post.
Krigbaum doesn’t believe that the broken streak has deterred the Knights’ morale as they are “still very confident and more than ready for the upcoming games.”
On Sunday the Knights lost to Mercyhurst, 1-0, in a hard-fought home PSAC match.
The match started in an uphill battle as Gannon managed one shot during the entire first half. At 22 minutes senior midfielder Warrik Bourke missed the net with a kick that had the ball tumbling over the crossbar.
The Lakers finished the half with eight shots and the score remained tied 0-0 until five minutes before the 90-minute mark when Mercyhurst’s Ian Harris headed in a cross from Christopher Makengo, giving the Lakers the lead.
Gannon’s Alex Lee Yaw remained resilient as he attacked the Laker defense in the final minutes, firing a rocket just wide of the goal.
The Knights had four total shots for the match with Lee Yaw responsible for three of these attempts.
The Knights enter play this week ranked ninth in the United Soccer Coaches Atlantic Region.