Playing in their third of four non-conference games and their first home game of the season, the SRU men’s soccer team battled with the Tiffin University Dragons through two overtimes before ending in a draw.
The Rock struck first blood, with a first half goal by senior Kyle Boyer, his team-leading second goal of the season. Tiffin dominated time of possession, spending the majority of the game on Slippery Rock’s side of the field; effectively limiting the number of scoring chances the Green and White could produce. Tiffin had more than four times as many shots as SRU (21 to four) and shots on goal (seven to two).
Rock head coach Steve Small said that despite blowing the early lead the team fought hard and earned the draw.
“I think we earned it at the end of the day,” Small said. “We came in with a game plan and we stuck to it. They had a couple chances in the second half but nothing that really threatened us.”
Tiffin’s persistence paid off in the second half when Alexander Wagener finally put a shot past senior Rock goalie Jonathan Sharp, tying the game at one.
The Dragons continue to pressure SRU defense throughout the rest of the second half, but strong net presence by Sharp kept the game tied through regulation. In the first overtime, SRU failed to generate any offense not registering a single shot, while Tiffin had two shots during the ten minute overtime period. The Rock also fail to have a shot in the second overtime, while The Dragons had three.
Small said that the offense struggled to control the ball and some tired legs from Slippery Rock did not help the problem.
Sharp made six saves on seven shots on goal in the game, totaling 16 through three games. This is Sharp’s first year as the full-time starter in goal and he has only given up two goals on the year and his 88.9 save percentage leads the Pennsylvania State Athlete Conference (PSAC). Small praised the performance Sharp had, calling it “absolutely phenomenal”.
“(Sharp)’s kept us in all three games and again today,” Small said. “Made big saves when we needed him to and did a great job with it. In the first 15 minutes we should have been down three to nothing but he made three huge saves.”
Now with a 1-1-1 record, SRU will play two more non-conference games before starting PSAC play. For their next game, the Green and White will be on the road to face Simon Fraser University in British Columbia for the program’s first ever game played in Canada.