LOCK HAVEN - It was a tough opening day in PSAC soccer action for the Lock Haven University women's and men's teams as both fell to Gannon University.
The women dropped a 1-0 verdict to the Lady Golden Knights, while the men battled to the end before dropping a tough 2-1 game to the Knights.
"We finished up losing one nil," LHU head coach Doug Moore said. "That was a very unfortunate injury to the young lady from Gannon, and for some reason, after that we went very flat. The girls played very well for a period, then they lost it."
Lock Haven’s goalkeeper Chris Frederick attempts to block the shot of Gannon’s Tyler Hollingsworth yesterday in Lock Haven. LHU?lost 2-1. Below, LHU’s Zachary Muscato heads a ball. For more photos, see cu.lockhaven.com.
In the women's game, the Lady Eagles had an excellent scoring chance go by the board 18 minutes into the game when Madison Taylor found Madeline Fazio loose in the box. However, Taylor's feed was just wide of Fazio and Gannon keeper Sarah Geffel made the save.
Eight minutes after Taylor's effort, Gannon threatened when Mani Brueckner got loose in the crease, but a diving save by Dana Wozniak kept the game scoreless.
During the final 15 minutes of the half, LHU kept the pressure on, and although the Crimson & White had five good scoring chances, the first half wound up scoreless.
"We had our chances to score and I keep preaching to the players that soccer is not like most other games," Moore said. "The score that reoccurs more often than other is 2-1 to the home team. So they scored and we said there is their one, but we never got our two. We had chances, but we didn't take them. Today it was a game we should have got something from, we ended up losing one nil."
The most serious of the LHU threats came with two minutes left in the half when Taylor drilled a shot into the back of the net, but an offside's call nullified the goal and the game remained scoreless.
"There were a couple of offside's very close together when we scored," Moore said. "I think the first one was definitely offside, but I would like to see that second one again. When you have been in the game as long as I have been, you sort of sense an offside and I didn't sense that one to be offside. Now I wasn't in line and I am not the official so I can't say that for sure."
During the opening 35 minutes of the second half, the two teams took turns penetrating each other's defenses until Justine Rodrigues found the back of the net with a blast to the far post from 23 yards out to given Gannon the lead.
Up 1-0, Gannon went into a defensive mode for the final 10 minutes to seal the win as neither team posed a serious scoring threat down the stretch.
In the men's game, 14th ranked Gannon struck quickly as Alex Perri slammed home a loose ball in the crease less than three minutes into the game.
"They dominated us early in the game," Moore said about the start of the men's game. "I can say I wouldn't have wanted my mother to be in the dressing room at halftime. We had words and I thought we were much better in the second half. I don't quite know whose team was out there in the first half, but that was my team out there in the second half."
Following the quick score by Gannon, the Bald Eagles had two excellent scoring chances at the 30-minute mark of the opening period, but the Golden Knight defense stood tall to keep the Bald Eagles scoreless.
Hoping that the third time would be the charm, Asher Klahold broke loose behind the Gannon defense, but his shot went wide left and the first half ended with Gannon still holding the 1-0 lead.
"We played a little bit slow in the first half, but we played much better in the second half," Klahold said. "In the second half, we came out and were ready to go. I had that good chance on the keeper in the first half and it can be frustrating, but it is just a tough miss and you have to get back in the game."
Lock Haven picked up the intensity on offense at the outset of the second half that produced four good scoring opportunities, but again the Gannon defense turned the Bald Eagles away from the well with an empty bucket.
After a breakaway followed by a scrum failed in front of the Gannon goal, the Bald Eagles might have felt they were snake-bitten as a shot by Jacob Oldaker went off the right post and seconds later on the rebound, a blast by Trent Burris went off the left post.
"I think we hit the post about four times today," Moore said. "Lady Luck wasn't on our side, but I don't want to make anything of that. My Dad was in professional football and he always said you make your own luck. It (the goal area) is 192 square feet so what are we doing hitting the post?"
Not to be denied, persistence paid off for LHU as the Bald Eagles got the equalizer when Grant Shelp's' shot hit the right post and Klahold drilled home a rebound for the tying goal at the 65-minute mark.
"I was already out of position the first two times we hit the post so I thought I had better be in position for that one," Klahold said. "I thought it (Shelp's shot) was going right in, but it hit the post and came right to me and I was able to get a touch on the ball and put it in the net."
The 1-all deadlock was short-lived as Gannon took advantage of a LHU defensive lapse when Adam Sharbaugh got behind the Bald Eagle defense for the easy goal to set the final.
"Bear in mind and I have to keep reminding myself that we are very, very young," Moore said. "We lost eight seniors last year and seven of them were starters. At any given time today I had three or four freshmen out there and I have to keep reminding myself of that. I think they showed in the second half that they can play. At the end of the day, I certainly couldn't be disappointed."