Looking to recover from Sunday’s disheartening 4-0 loss to Gannon, the Slippery Rock University men’s soccer team traveled to square off against Seton Hill, ranked 25th in the country, on Wednesday. The Green and White entered the game on the wrong end of a five-game losing streak in the two teams’ all-time series, but managed to depart from Greensburg with a scoreless tie.
The Griffins and their leading scorer Alex Dysen literally did not lose a minute before recording the game’s opening shot. It came 57 seconds in and missed wide. Each of the hosts’ next three shots within the subsequent 20 minutes ended up in the gloves of Slippery Rock junior goalkeeper Matt Hunsberger, who entered the game with a 1.23 goals against average and .783 save percentage.
Three minutes after Hunsberger’s fourth save in the 27th minute, which evened the most he had made in a first period all season, fellow junior Justin Minda managed the Rock’s first shot, which ballooned over the Seton Hill crossbar. Two of SRU’s later first-half shots, from the foot of Elyjah D. Brode and the head of Dan Schearer, did the same.
The Griffins made two more attempts at scoring in the latter two minutes of the half, but the teams ended up going into the break without altering the zeroes on the scoreboard.
Seven minutes into the second period, the teams traded blocked shots, and in the 62nd minute, SHU goalie Austin Iddon was forced to make his first save of the game off an Alexander Vilchek shot.
From then on, The Rock was able to produce only one more shot the rest of the game, again high in the 72nd minute from Minda, and the team’s defense was key in avoiding a loss. The Griffins fired six shots in the last half hour, three of which were blocked, two were saved, and one sailing wide.
The first overtime did not lack for excitement. Seton Hill got three shots off within the period’s first two-and-a-half minutes before letting Slippery Rock a pair of chances. The freshman forward Vilchek came close to giving the advantage to his team, but the ball was blocked.
After a second overtime phase that saw only one shot, the teams ended with a draw. The result ensured that Seton Hill’s mark, which sat at 4-0-3 entering the afternoon, did not yet sustain a blemish.
Hunsberger took his gloves off with his third shutout of the season. The game was also his third with at least seven saves this season. It was the first time that The Rock had played to a draw with a ranked opponent in almost seven years when they tied then-#23 West Virginia.
As for the offense, it was held scoreless for the second straight game and the fourth time this year. The guys will look to get back on the board this Saturday while hosting the reigning PSAC champions, East Stroudsburg. The Warriors will get off the bus having won three of their last four outings.