Men's soccer picks up third win, stays hot against Salem

Cole Kropnick - Bill Smith

Cole Kropnick (No. 11) scored the winning goal in the match against Salem. He added two more goals in the win against Goldey-Beacom to hit the seven-goal mark for the season.

The Shippensburg University men’s soccer team continued its strong start to the new season, picking up its third win in a row against Salem University on Tuesday afternoon, 1–0.

The game was a defensive showdown for the entire first half and the majority of the second half until a phenomenal breakthrough came for the Raiders in the final 10 minutes. Defender Devlin Mettee’s throw went over two Salem players in the box and fell to Kropnick, who unleashed a powerful bicycle kick to fire the ball into the top corner of the net for the deciding goal. 

The tally was Kropnick’s fifth of the season and he is now on pace for about 19 goals — nearly double the 10 goals he scored in his breakout 2017 season. The goal came on Kropnick’s fourth shot on goal of the afternoon and his fifth overall.

Although the game was not a conference matchup, the contest was crucial for the Raiders in terms of building momentum going into the stretch of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East contests. After SU’s game against Goldey-Beacom, the team will face divisional opponents for the remainder of the season, starting with Gannon.

The offensive firepower that had been on display in the team’s previous two victories against Shepherd and Nyack — contests in which SU scored a combined 12 goals — but the offense came through when needed to clinch another impressive win. Both teams combined for only 10 shots on goal — seven of which belonged to the Raiders — but eight of those came in the second half of the dreary, rainy matchup.

Goalkeeper Garret Watson had another strong showing in net, only called into action on a few specific occasions, but he made all three saves during the game to preserve the win and another clean sheet — the seventh of his career.

After dropping its first contest against Chestnut Hill University, SU has tightened up defensively and has discovered an offensive prowess that had been absent in seasons past. Three consecutive wins against Shepherd, Nyack and Salem seem to have given the team a renewed confidence. The overall margin of victory in those three wins was 13–1.

In Monday afternoon’s matchup against Goldey-Beacom College, the Raiders snuck by with a 3–2 win. Kropnick bagged two more goals to increase his PSAC-leading total to seven in five games.

The Raiders will next welcome Gannon to David See Field on Friday for a PSAC showdown at 2 p.m.

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