Women’s soccer falls to Kutztown, 2-0, in final four


The Gannon University women’s soccer team’s season concluded Friday with a 2-0 loss to No. 13 Kutztown in the semifinals of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament in West Chester.
It marks the third time in the last four seasons that the Knights, who finished the year at 10-6-3, saw their season end one game shy of the PSAC Tournament championship game.
Gannon had a lot of energy heading into the game coming off a 1-0 upset win over Edinboro in the quarterfinals on Nov. 1 thanks to junior Hannah Manczka’s first overtime goal as a Knight.
Manczka said that the team’s energy was positive, and the Knights were focused on the job at hand.
“Coming off of such a huge win was great and we now knew we were capable of winning the semifinal game, but at the same time we had to put that game behind us and take on the next team,” Manczka said.
It didn’t take long for Kutztown to put digits on the scoreboard in Friday’s semifinal game as Maddie Mohr scored the first goal 10 minutes, 10 seconds into the match.
The Knights’ defense was able to prevent further damage throughout the rest of the half but on the offensive side Gannon wasn’t able to fire off any shots for the first 24 minutes.
Once the clock struck 24, the Knights erupted, firing two shots on goal in the next three minutes that were denied by Kutztown goalie Jenna Bracken.
For the rest of the half, neither squad was able to slip one by their opposing goalie and at intermission, Gannon trailed 1-0.
PSAC Freshman of the Year Taylor Lewis’ shot on goal was the closest the Knights came to tying the match at 1-1 as she drilled a shot off the goal post nine minutes into the second half.
Nine minutes after Lewis fired off her shot, Kutztown’s Alaina Curry padded the lead for the Bears as she snuck one past Gannon’s senior goalie, Shannon Differ, for her seventh goal of the season, giving Kutztown a 2-0 advantage.
The Knights were able to post two more shots but Bracken was able to turn both of them away.
As the clock wound down, Gannon ran out of time to pull off a victory but the Knights did not go down without a fight.
Manczka admitted that Friday wasn’t their best performance, but acknowledged Kutztown’s talent as a team.
“Kutztown is a good team and knew how to get through and split our defense and that’s where we struggled unfortunately,” Manczka said.
“There will be a lot to work and focus on in the spring season to better our chances of going even farther next season.”
Differ made seven saves between the pipes Friday for the fourth time this season and played the full 90 minutes in her final game wearing a Gannon uniform.
She wasn’t the only veteran at that game. Seniors Britney Barry, who managed one of Gannon’s six shots on goal, Courtney Edwards, Kaylee Lewis, Bethany Perri and Kayla Wysocki concluded their Knights careers in the loss to Kutztown.
Kutztown outshot Gannon 16-8, putting nine shots on goal to Gannon’s six. The Bears also finished with eight corner kicks to just one for Gannon.
Kutztown, ranked No. 2 in the NCAA Division II Atlantic region, wound up falling 2-1 to East Stroudsburg in Sunday’s PSAC championship game. It marked East Stroudsburg’s third straight title. Gannon reached double-digit victories for the fourth time in the last five years and made its sixth consecutive PSAC Tournament appearance.
Coach Colin Petersen agreed with Manczka in that the team did not play its best.
“If you’re not playing your best at that stage of the season then it won’t go well,” Petersen said.
Despite the loss, Petersen was absolutely thrilled with the season.
“Hats off to the girls, they did a phenomenal job of acclimating the new players to the team,” Petersen said.
In terms of next season, Petersen admitted that losing Differ will hurt the team and they will have some holes to fill, but the program has recruited a terrific incoming class.
[email protected]