Men’s soccer loss results from lack of spark

As the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference portion of the Gannon University men’s soccer team’s schedule is now in full force, so too are the Knights’ offensive struggles.

The Knights were unsuccessful in an upset bid against No. 21 California University of Pennsylvania Wednesday, as they fell to the Vulcans 2-1, and followed up the loss with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Shippensburg University Saturday.

Gannon managed to hold Cal’s offense in check in the first half Wednesday. Redshirt junior goaltender Michael Kickel made four saves in the first half.

The Knights had a chance to score in the 19th minute, but junior midfielder Shane Hallet hit the goal’s crossbar.

Midway through the second half, Cal’s Edin Sabric finally broke the scoreless tie when he found the back of the net.

The Vulcans threatened 8 minutes later, but Kickel rejected back-to-back shots. But in the 80th minute, the Vulcans’ Ian Cheek converted on a header to give Cal (8-1-2 overall, 3-1-1 PSAC) a 2-0 lead.

Sophomore forward Faycal Benjelloun scored Gannon’s lone goal in the waning moments to prevent a shutout.

Shippensburg (3-4-1, 2-3-1) goaltender Andrew Foran turned away two scoring opportunites made by freshman forward Robbie Bennett and Jonathan Simmons.

Bennett, who leads the team with 10 goals, said he was disappointed in the Knights’ loss.

“I can’t say I’m proud about what happened,” he said. “But we’re going to hopefully get our acts together and have a great next game.”

The Knights dropped to 4-6-1 overall, and have yet to register a conference victory. They will get another chance at a conference win on the road against Bloomsberg at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Senior midfielder Austin Miller said the Knights will have to put their recent frustrations behind them if they’re to knock off the Huskies.

“What happened happened and we’ll be ready for our game against Bloomsburg,” Miller said.

JOE CUNEO

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