Men's soccer moves on to the Sweet Sixteen
Photo By: psblions.com
Trevor Dinsmore, Sports Editor
This past week, the men’s soccer team accomplished a feat unprecedented in Behrend soccer history. After two narrow battles against Lycoming and John Carroll to start the NCAA DIII Tournament, the Lions advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
The Lions’ week started with a Saturday match against the Lycoming Warriors, whom the Lions last met 20 years ago. Less than three and a half minutes into the game, Logan Brinsky netted one past the Lycoming keeper off of an assist from Richard Blanchard. This was one of 10 Behrend shots in the half, as Behrend was able to control the game’s pace. Behrend built a wall on defense in the first half, allowing a mere two shots, only one of which was on goal.
The second half was a slightly different story though, as the game was turned on its ear after a key save by Lycoming keeper Chris Solecki and a couple of Behrend fouls. From that point on, it was Lycoming who went on the offensive, striking for eight shots total and two on goal in the half. However, Chris Ralph was able to deliver yet another shutout performance, and the Lions were able to win their first NCAA Tournament game in seven years.
Sunday saw the Lions take on the John Carroll Blue Streaks, and this game was about as even as a game can be, at least in the first half. After trading offensive chance after offensive chance, the Lions and Blue Streaks remained deadlocked at zero going into the second half.
The further the teams got into the second half, the more John Carroll poured on the offensive pressure. Ralph was forced to make what would turn out to be four game-saving stops on 11 total Blue Streaks shots in the second half. The Lions team almost became desperate, as the team received two yellow cards down the stretch. However, the game lagged into overtime, which also went scoreless after three more John Carroll attempts. In what seemed to be a last gasp effort, the ball was chipped to Dakota Lange, who was right in front of Blue Streaks keeper Liam McIntosh. After a superb juggling act, Lange hit a sidekick past the outstretched arms of the McIntosh to win the game and send Behrend onto the Sweet Sixteen.
It has been quite the season for Behrend, and they will look to continue their historic run as they take on the Calvin College Knights, who happen to be ranked fourth in the country. That game will take place this Friday in Cleveland. Certainly long odds for the Lions to move on, but there were long odds for them to get to this point, so who knows what can happen?