The Shippensburg University men’s soccer team followed up its disappointing opening defeat to Chestnut Hill College on Thursday with an impressive win against Shepherd University at home Sunday, 7–0.
The Raiders had goals from four different players, including two players who had braces.
The goal tally was the most under coach Jeremy Spering and the highest tally since October 2007 against Kutztown University.
The offensive pressure was present from the start, as SU jumped out to a 5-0 lead only 21 minutes into the game. The first score came on an own goal in the fourth minute, quickly followed by a goal from midfielder Joey Gallucci. Gallucci had two goals and an assist on the day, a sort of confirmation of his return.
Gallucci was forced to sit out the 2017 season as he recovered from a major surgery, but Spering was glad to see Gallucci get back on the field and work hard.
“His recovery has been spectacular,” Spering said. “Last year was tough for him physically as well as emotionally, because he is sitting on the sidelines and he wants to play and he physically can’t.”
After his rehab in the fall, Spering said Gallucci took major steps in the spring and looked better and better as time went on and he carried that into this season.
Spering said the team played hard after its hiccup on Thursday against Chestnut Hill, saying the players were not pleased with the performance and wanted to come out and build momentum against Shepherd. The Raiders conceded two goals in the last 10 minutes against Chestnut Hill after some shaky defending, but pulled a goal back from forward Cole Kropnick in the final minute of the game to make the score 3–1.
Kropnick added two more goals to his season tally in the Shepherd match, scoring his first in the 12th minute from a cross by Gallucci. Only nine minutes later, Kropnick grabbed his second after some great one-touch passing between Gallucci and midfielder JJ Saukko and lifted the ball over the keeper to make it 5–0 going into halftime. Kropnick now has three goals on the season, already on pace to break his mark of 10 goals in the 2017 campaign.
Freshman midfielder Alex Petty opened his collegiate scoring account with an 18th-minute shot from the left side of the box, at the time giving the Raiders a 4–0 lead. Midfielder Patrick Luebben got off the mark for the season after a scrum in the box let the ball fall to Luebben right in front of the net and he made no mistake, adding another tally on the other side of halftime.
Gallucci‘s second goal was a thing of beauty. He took a pass from Saukko on the outside of the box and fired a bullet from around 25 yards out into the top-right corner of the net, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. The goal was the final one for the Raiders in the match as they sat back for most of the remaining time, although there was a penalty awarded later in the match that was saved by Shepherd keeper Jose Machado Orellano, who, despite allowing seven goals, came up with some incredible saves during the match on some point-blank opportunities.
The stretch ahead is tough for the Raiders, as they need to travel to New York on Wednesday to take on Nyack College. They then need to host Salem University next Tuesday before traveling to Delaware to take on Golden-Beacom College. The opening Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) matchup for the Raiders comes the following match against Gannon University. All of the upcoming teams are historically competitive, with many international players.
Spering admitted it will be tough and said that team needed to get better every day to compete during this rough set of games.