The Slippery Rock University men’s soccer team (6-10-2 in 2018) played a pair of non-conference road games to open its 2019 campaign. The Rock fought to its first season-opening draw in six years against the Yellow Jackets of Cedarville University on Thursday before falling 3-0 to Lake Erie College Saturday.

Against the Yellow Jackets, the Green and White waited almost 25 minutes to get its first shot off. By then, the hosts possessed the advantage, having connected on a Mauri Ochoa Vazquez penalty kick in the 15th minute.

Slippery Rock was only able to generate three shots in the first half, none of which were on goal. However, junior midfielder Ale Okuma, a transfer from Louisiana College, spotted sophomore defender Dan Schearer, who then connected on his first collegiate marker, knotting the game at one apiece in the 61st minute.

Cedarville made a push to steal the lead back less than a minute later. It was to no avail, as senior goalkeeper Matt Hunsberger made his only save of the second half. The Rock played well in transition, flipping the field and managing a shot 30 seconds later.

SRU got four more shots off at Cedarville goalie Carter Selvius before the end of regulation, the most promising of which came from the foot of junior forward Sean Tinney with less than two minutes left on the clock.

It would also be Tinney who would tally the only shot of the first overtime, while the defense cancelled out a pair of CU corner kicks.

In the second overtime, Cedarville saw three different players push shots toward Hunsberger, but each one of them sailed wide of the goal mouth.

Overall, Tinney led the team with five of its eleven shots, and sophomore midfielder Abdallah Bangura added three. Cedarville edged their visitors in both shots (15-11) and shots on goal (4-3.)

While not earning a decision, the Rock remains unbeaten against Cedarville in the two schools’ all-time series, which sits in SRU’s favor at 3-0-1.

Two days later, Slippery Rock was in Ohio again, travelling to Painesville to square off against Lake Erie. The Storm downed SRU for the second-straight season, winning 3-0.

Lake Erie, who also played into a second overtime in their first contest (a 1-0 victory against Ashland), connected with the back of the net twice. Ameer Saade scored by way of a Sander Van der Sluijs assist in the 23rd minute, and that connection would flip for another marker 14 seconds prior to the end of the first half.

The Rock would manage seven shots in the first half, but LEC’s Tom John made four saves to keep Kevin Wilhelm’s team off the scoreboard.

The second half wasn’t much prettier for the Green and White, as it failed to even record a shot in the final 45 minutes. Lake Erie’s Tom Akinola would add another goal in the 53rd minute, all but sealing the game.

The Rock will return to familiar turf at James Egli Field at 3 p.m. on Wednesday to host PSAC newcomer Shepherd University.

Brendan is a junior converged journalism major starting his first year on the Rocket staff, as Assistant Campus Life Editor. He previously covered multiple teams for the newspaper's sports section and campus events and club events. After graduation, Brendan hopes to write for a city newspaper covering a sports team.

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