The Gannon University men’s soccer team enjoyed a successful start to its NCAA Division II Tournament campaign, and the Knights will look to continue that success Thursday when they host the University of Charleston at 1 p.m. at McConnell Family Stadium in the semifinals of Super Region 1.
The second-seeded Knights improved to 18-2 on the season by blanking Assumption, 5-0, at McConnell Family Stadium on Nov. 22, in their regional tournament debut.
The winner of Thursday’s Gannon-Charleston matchup would move on to play the winner of the Post University-Franklin Pierce match at 2 p.m. Saturday at McConnell Family Stadium. Post and Franklin Pierce are scheduled to play at 10 a.m. Thursday at Gannon.
Assumption defeated West Chester to earn the right to take on the Knights on Nov. 22, but it proved to be no contest.
Gannon came with a vengeance after losing a hard-fought game against Millersville the previous week in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship match.
Four Knights found themselves on the score sheet to power Gannon past Assumption.
Joe Knox started the scoring for the Knights seven minutes into the contest after goalkeeper Chandler Hallwood sent a ball all the way down the field to Knox, who chased it and fired into the back of the net.
Twenty minutes later, a throw-in from Alex Lee Yaw and header from Chad Barrick froze the Assumption backline, which gave Ivan Manfredi an easy tap-in goal for the 2-0 lead.
Following the break at halftime, Knox sent a cross into the box that found the feet of Lee Yaw, who fired in the third goal of the contest from close distance in the 57th minute.
Assumption tried to claw away at the Gannon lead but the backline, along with great efforts from Hallwood, enabled the Knights to preserve the clean sheet.
Goals from Manfredi and Tinashe Katsande in the 75th and 77th minute put the game out of reach for the Greyhounds as the Knights cruised to a comfortable win.
“They were just ready,” Gannon coach Billy Colton said of his team after the win.
“After that tough loss they were like caged animals. We had our game plan and when we scored we just upped it and we scored again and went after them again and we didn’t let off of them.”
That win gave the Knights full control of the super region as No. 1 seed Adelphi University was eliminated by Post. That is what enabled Gannon to host the remaining games of the Super Regional tournament at McConnell Family Stadium.