After beginning the season 2-0, the SRU Men’s soccer team dropped its first road game of the year 2-1 against Salem International.
Salem International took an early 1-0 lead in the 21st minute, and held onto that lead for a significant amount of time, until Mike Ilodigwe scored at the 41:42 mark. This came on a solid pass from midfielder Josh Allman for the assist.
That momentum didn’t last long, as Salem International scored less than a minute later, to put The Rock away.
“I thought they played to their strengths and we didn’t adapt to it,” Rock head coach Andy Hoggarth said. “The surface we were on hurt our chances, but we need to adapt. There are no excuses. The biggest disappointment was the lack of adapting.”
Hoggarth said the field was dry and seemed like it hadn’t been watered, deciding it wasn’t conducive to the passing game.
That wasn’t the only issue though, as Salem International had more shots and corner kicks than SRU. SRU was outshot 11-9, and Salem International had six corner kicks while the Rock only had five. Both teams registered four shots on goal.
Despite some shaky play, Hoggarth still saw some positives in his team’s play.
“We were gritty,” Hoggarth said. “We were determined, disciplined and created some chances. We just need to put the ball in the net.”
SRU did have their chances, but failed to cash in. The Rock went on the attack in the second half, when Matt Sangermano and Andre Morgan combined for five shots.
Rock junior goaltender Jonathan Sharp made his first collegiate start, allowing two goals while stopping two shots.
Slippery Rock will now go into a stretch of four games where they strictly play against PSAC opponents. In the next four outings they will play Shippensburg, Cal U, Millersville and Mercyhurst. It all starts on Saturday when they will welcome Shippensburg. Hoggarth knows this win is huge and plans to have his team ready.
“We need to be organized,” Hoggarth said. “We have two days of preparation. Preparation will be vital.”