The Slippery Rock University men’s soccer team (4-4-2, 1-1-0 in PSAC) welcomed the Shippensburg Raiders to James Egli Field Saturday afternoon for a physical and energetic non-conference matchup. The Rock squandered a two-goal lead in the second half, ending up with a 2-2 draw.
“It feels like a loss,” head coach Kevin Wilhelm said. “We had all the momentum and we should have scored a third. We lost focus for about 15 minutes and that was what it took for them to get back in the game.”
The Green and White registered four shots in the game’s first 14 minutes before freshman midfielder Alejandro Fernandez scored his third goal of the season.
After about twenty minutes and three saves by senior goalkeeper and reigning PSAC West Defensive Athlete of the Week Matt Hunsberger, Ramses Minaya, another rookie, widened the gap on a marker assisted by Fernandez and sophomore defender Mo Kanani. The Rock would enter the intermission with a promising 2-0 lead.
Slippery Rock couldn’t take advantage of six chances before a scuffle broke out about 20 minutes into the period, resulting in a red card for Luke Picchi and a yellow card for Cory Olix.
From there on, Shippensburg found an opening. After two perfect chances for Minaya and Fernandez to put the game away, the Raiders’ Julian Horstmann slipped one past Hunsberger in the 79th minute.
Six minutes later, Seth Crabbe evened the score at two apiece. Though ten minutes earlier it looked as if the Rock would secure a win, it would play in overtime for the fourth time this year.
“I think [the scuffle] definitely took the attention away from the way we wanted to play the game,” Wilhelm said. “But at the same time, it’s one of those things that, if you keep your focus on the game, then that doesn’t even matter.”
In the first overtime, the Rock’s Brian McCarthy would get a shot on goal and Shippensburg would tally a pair of shots, one wide and another blocked.
Despite three shots in the second overtime period, two of them from the foot of Abdallah Bangura, the scoreboard would remain unchanged.
The Rock held the advantage in shots 23-16. Four of the team’s 11 shots on goal came courtesy of Minaya and Fernandez. Freshman defender Nathan Kortyna added a shot on goal.
“It’s things like [our freshman class] that change a program around,” Wilhelm said. “So when you have that much talent year after year, then you go from being a club that expects to go out and always have to work you socks off to win games to one that wins games 3-0, like we should have done today.”
The Rock will face off against the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown at home in a PSAC West matchup Wednesday at 4 p.m.