No. 13 Rams defeat Gannon in PSAC playoffs

The Gannon University women’s soccer team was bounced out of the first round of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs by the No. 2 seed, West Chester, 3-0 Tuesday morning.

The Knights fell behind 7 minutes, 45 seconds into the game when Nikki Lynch buried a Sara Wulk assist. Lynch’s goal proved to be the game-winner.

The Knights’ best chance to score came off their first corner kick. Senior midfielder Justine Rodriguez redirected the set piece just wide.

Haley Mangiaruga and Dana Hunt added goals to seal the Rams’ 3-0 win. Alex Srolis made four saves to secure her ninth shutout of the season for West Chester.

Gannon’s top two scorers, junior forward Mani Brueckner and Rodriguez, each tallied four shots, but failed to find the back of the net.

The loss ended the Knights season, which left Gannon 9-9 overall with a 9-7 PSAC mark. The first-round victory propelled West Chester to a near perfect 16-1-1 record.

Brueckner said that she didn’t feel that the team’s record accurately depicted its talent.

“Of the nine games we lost, six of them were only by one goal,” Brueckner said. “We gave everything we had in every minute of every game.”

Brueckner finished the season ranked second in the PSAC with 28 points (eight goals and 11 assists). She also proved to be clutch for the Knights in 2014.

Rodriguez had a strong finish to her senior campaign. She led the team in scoring with nine goals and was a big reason for the Knights winning four of their last five games to advance to the postseason.

Brueckner said the loss of Rodriguez will be a huge blow to the team, but added that the rest of her team would be returning in 2016.

“We had our ups and downs throughout the season, but overall I think we played well,” Brueckner said. “I’m sorry to see it end.”

CONNOR SONDEL

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