The Shippensburg University men’s soccer team had mixed results last week, dropping a tough Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) contest at home to Gannon University on Friday but following up Sunday with an impressive win at Lock Haven University.
The opening PSAC matchup against Gannon did not go as planned, as the Raiders struggled to convert any of their several chances on goal in the match, dropping the contest 2–0. SU had eight shots on goal in the match, led by the consistent threat of forward Cole Kropnick. Kropnick had a team-leading five shots, two of which were on target. The senior leads the team with seven goals on 20 shots on target so far this season and is constantly pressuring the opposing defense.
Midfielder Patrick Luebben contributed on offense as well, racking up three more shots and two on target to keep pressure on Gannon’s goalkeeper, but Hedi Mehnaoui was spectacular in goal and repelled every shot that came his way.
SU goalkeeper Garret Watson was strong in goal and made five saves in the game, but gave up the winning goal and another to increase the Gannon advantage.
On the Golden Knights’ first goal, Watson saved the initial shot from Chad Barrick, but the rebound went right back to Barrick, who did not make a mistake on the second effort and fired the ball home from close range.
The Raiders were strong on offense — grabbing the advantage in nearly every category — but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities as Gannon was more efficient in front of goal.
SU rebounded nicely on only two days’ rest, as the team traveled to Lock Haven to take on the Bald Eagles in a second consecutive PSAC match. The game started well for the Raiders as Lock Haven midfielder Gage Rims was sent off in the eighth minute. SU played with the man advantage for the majority of the match but could not capitalize on the upper hand until late in the game.
Lock Haven controlled the tempo of the game up to the 81st minute when the Raiders finished off one of their few clear opportunities. Midfielder Alejandro Fernandez saw a powerful shot come off the crossbar, only to rebound directly to Luebben who converted the chance from just one yard out.
The goal is Luebben’s fourth of the year, and he continues to show his importance to the team after almost an entire season of injury limited his playtime last year. He has been the driving force on offense behind Kropnick as the squad keeps the strong start to the season going.
Now 5–2 on the season and 1–1 in the PSAC, the Raiders will next face East Stroudsburg away from home tomorrow at 7 p.m.