Men’s soccer continues dominance while women defeat Mercyhurst

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McConnell Family Stadium was filled for the first of two Erie Derbies of the soccer season on Saturday.
Gannon University and Mercyhurst University renewed a historic crosstown rivalry as the Knights were set to defend their home ground against the Lakers.
And defend it both teams did, as the Gannon women downed Mercyhurst, 3-1, and the men blanked the Lakers 2-0. The latter win, which came on the heels of a 6-0 whitewashing of Seton Hill on Oct. 16, improved Gannon’s overall record to 11-1 and raised the Knights’ Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference mark to 4-1.
An early goal from Alex Lee Yaw in which he dribbled past Mercyhurst goalkeeper Martin Yarc staked the Knights to an early lead in the first frame.
Dominance in possession and a solid defensive performance from the Knights held the Lakers to two total shots in the first half.
Mercyhurst found itself in referee Brian Opiela’s book and received an immediate red card in the 40th minute, which put the Lakers a man down for the rest of the match.
The second half was full of fireworks as three Mercyhurst players were booked for rough challenges on the Gannon midfield. The Knights’ Joe Knox later found himself booked for a hard challenge.
In the 85th minute Gannon’s Sergio Del Castillo won the ball in the opposing half and made two touches on the ball, which turned a defender and allowed him to score a brace from 20 yards out, sealing the match at 2-0.
The Knights finished with 10 shots and outshot their rivals by four. Mercyhurst recorded 16 fouls with five bookings and one ejection while Gannon finished with 12 fouls and two bookings.
“I’m obviously very proud of the lads,” said Gannon goalkeeper Chandler Hallwood. “We’ve done very well — first derby game, as well, for most of the guys and they handled it very well.”
The win over Mercyhurst pushed the Knights up to the eighth spot in the country and enabled them to regain the No. 1 regional ranking as they get set to travel to California University of Pennsylvania Saturday. Gannon will look to avenge its only loss from earlier in the season in the 1 p.m. match.
Two Gannon players earned recognition from the conference Monday, as Chad Barrick was named PSAC West Defensive Athlete of the Week and Lee Yaw was named PSAC West Athlete of the Week for the second straight week.
In Saturday’s women’s matchup, a quiet start in the first half for both teams saw Gannon dominate the possession of the ball but not really find much from that.
As the teams went into halftime scoreless, a tactical change from Gannon coach Colin Petersen saw Gannon striker Leah Bermudez score her first goal of the season and take the lead 42 seconds into the second half.
From there, Gannon dominated the midfield and held Mercyhurst to almost no offense for the duration of the match.
A cross into open space from Vanessa Coccurello set up Sarah Fails, who went into the box unmarked and ripped a shot that went to the far corner and doubled the Gannon lead in the game’s 54th minute.
Coccurello scored her second goal of the season roughly 30 minutes later after Maddie North won the ball off a defender and passed it in open space, allowing for the goal that put the Knights up 3-0.
Maya Bauer got the ball off a goalkeeping error from Gannon and gave Mercyhurst its only goal of the contest with five minutes remaining.
The win pushes the team back over .500 at 6-5-1 overall and left the Knights 5-5-1 in PSAC play as they get set to host Indiana University of Pennsylvania at 6 p.m. Wednesday at McConnell Family Stadium.
Gannon also will travel to California (Pa.) for a 3:30 p.m. match Saturday.

JUAN BATISTA
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