Soccer teams finish weekend with mixed results


Timothy Corso, Staff Writer

Both the Gannon University men’s and women’s soccer teams competed Saturday with one game halting the men’s undefeated start and the other ending in a tie.

The 16th-ranked men’s team ventured to Wilmington, Del., Saturday to take on the 13th-ranked Wildcats.

The Knights entered the game 4-0 and were looking to keep the winning streak alive, but they fell short in a 2-1 defeat.

The Gannon women, meanwhile, battled to a scoreless tie with Indiana University of Pennsylvania Saturday at McConnell Family Stadium – the second consecutive scoreless tie in a four-day stretch for the Knights.

In Saturday’s loss to Wilmington, the Gannon men’s defense bent but didn’t break early.

Wilmington had six corner kicks in the first 16 minutes of the match, but just one shot in that frame.

While the match was scoreless at halftime, it wasn’t as even as it seemed.

The Knights attempted only three shots and didn’t have a single corner kick.

The match stayed even until the 74-minute mark when Gannon redshirt junior Sergio Del Castillo netted his third goal on the young season to give the Knights a 1-0 lead. Del Castillo was assisted by fellow redshirt junior Lennox Crews.

Not a minute later, the Wildcats answered with a goal of their own, as sophomore midfielder Yoham Kim scored his second goal of the year to even the game at 1-1. Freshman midfielder Tyler Guadagno picked up the assist.

The match stayed tied until the 86-minute mark when Wilmington took the lead for the first and final time on freshman forward Pol Romero’s first goal of the season.

Gannon coach Billy Colton said his team wasn’t on top of its game in the first half, giving Wilmington too much space. And when the Knights had the ball, Colton said, “we didn’t keep it for long enough, so we defended a lot.”

Colton said the Knights played much better in the second half and created enough chances to win the game but didn’t take advantage of those chances.

“The work-rate and desire from the team was top-class,” Colton said. “We just need a bit more composure in front of the goal. Wilmington is a very good team, and I am sure we will learn from this game.”

The Knights will next face Wheeling University on the road at 1 p.m. Saturday as they take on the Cardinals, and they’ll make it three straight on the road when they travel to meet Bloomsburg at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29.

Meanwhile, the women’s team welcomed IUP to McConnell Family Stadium Saturday afternoon after having been shut out in its previous two games.

The Knights got off to a quick start in the match, getting two corner kick opportunities within the first three minutes.

Gannon controlled the ball for most of the first 20 minutes of the game and looked like it was moments away from breaking through on the scoreboard.

At the 24-minute mark, junior midfielder/forward Sarah Fails had a great opportunity to give the Knights an early lead. However, her shot was slightly off, and the game remained scoreless.

Both teams put in good efforts in the first half, but none of them resulted in goals.

While the game was scoreless at the break, the Knights outshot the Crimson Hawks, 9-3.

IUP flipped the script to start the second half, controlling the ball early and often. But the Knights survived that scare early in the second half and started applying the pressure.

IUP junior goalkeeper Samantha Gildner had 12 saves in regulation, including a couple huge ones late in the match.

The match was still tied at zero at the end of regulation, and the game wound up going to double-overtime.

Gannon senior goalkeeper Kennedy Solymosi was given a red card halfway through the second overtime period and was replaced by sophomore Morgan Sinan.

Sinan held her own and didn’t allow a goal in the remaining five minutes of the second overtime.

Unfortunately, the Knights couldn’t net any goals themselves and for the second straight match, they ended with a tie.

Gannon coach Colin Petersen said his team’s failure to score is no reflection of a lack of effort. “Our attacking players are just not clinical enough in front of the goal and we need a little more composure in front of the net,” he said. “We are obviously working in our attacking third constantly in practice and I am confident the ball will start hitting the back of the net.”

Petersen said he’s hopeful that can happen before too much longer.

“The longer we go without scoring, the more pressure builds on our team defensively,” he said. “We play in a good conference with teams that can hurt you if you let them hang around. I think it would be naïve to think we will be able to keep clean sheets every game, so at some point it will cost us.”

However, Petersen said it’s important to point out that the Knights have played tough defensively and the team’s goalkeepers have been “terrific.”

“I also want to point out that our attacking core is also working hard defensively, so I think it would be unfair to lay the lack of goals exclusively at the attacking core and that the excellent defense is laid exclusively at our defensive core,” he said.

The Knights women will travel to California University of Pennsylvania Wednesday for a conference battle with the Vulcans, then will host Edinboro at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at McConnell Family Stadium.



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