LHU men’s soccer remains composed in 4-0 home opening win
By SAM KUPERMAN
For The Express
The Lock Haven University men’s soccer team handled business Sunday afternoon in a 4-0 victory over Felician at Hubert Jack Stadium. The Bald Eagles dominated their non-conference foe in every statistical category, but it’s the poise of Patrick Long’s team that most stood out in the home opener.
“I thought our guys responded really well when shown some adversity,” Long said. “They walked away. They were teammates that looked after each other. And I’m proud of the overall effort throughout.”
The match featured a combined seven yellow cards and two red cards. Lock Haven was only responsible for one of those yellows, as the Golden Falcons were the ones that lost control when things got testy throughout the game.
The win, which moves Lock Haven to 1-1 on the young season, took shape early with a goal from senior defenseman Andrew Moore in the 10th minute. LHU’s Brian Flatter sent a well-placed corner kick towards a crowd at the back post, and Moore headed it home.
That was the only first half goal for the Bald Eagles, despite getting 10 shots off in that time. It was still a major momentum boost for the home team.
“The first goal was really important,” Long said. “And leave it to someone like Andrew Moore, an extremely veteran player and he’s somebody that can step up.”
The second half was a different story. In the 51st minute fellow senior Ivo Klaric secured his first goal of the season, as he executed on a pass in the box from Moore.
By the 65th minute, Felician was noticeably tired and outmatched. Then the match reached a boiling point as two Golden Falcons players received their second yellow cards of the contest, resulting in them being ejected and Felician being down two players down the stretch.
Despite it being a situation where Lock Haven had players being jawed at by its opponent, the team avoided confrontation. This paid off, as the Bald Eagles tallied two more goals while playing two men up for the final 25 minutes.
“Discipline is huge,” Long said. “I won’t tolerate bad language. I won’t tolerate chippiness. Some teams will try to wind us up a little bit. Again it’s just not something I tolerate at all.”
Tom Pombor, a freshman forward from Williamsport, collected the third Lock Haven goal. He scored off a low cross from Matthew McDermott in the 70th minute. Matt Botros capped the scoring frenzy off in the 83rd minute, heading in a marvelous cross from Beckham Sibiski.
Lock Haven outshot Felician 24-4, with an 11-1 advantage in shots on goal. The Bald Eagles dominated on the attack, and earned nine corner kicks compared to just one for the Golden Falcons. Sophomore goalkeeper Jason Keller was steady in net. The sophomore from Port Matilda picked up his fourth career shutout in only his seventh start dating back to 2018.
“We defended well, we kept a clean sheet, and it was great to see four different goal-scorers,” Long said. “There’s still a lot to work on though. Felician is a good team, they were missing a few pieces. Ultimately we’ve got to keep grinding and get back to work on Monday.”
Lock Haven will play all of its games at Hubert Jack Stadium this year, as opposed to splitting time between the turf of Jack and the grassy conditions at the Stern Athletic Complex.
“The turf helps,” Long said. “We’re a technical team we can play the ball well on the on the ground. I like the fact that there’s lights. We can play some night games. I’m looking forward to getting the LHU community and the students to a lot of the games.”
LHU continues its non-conference slate Wednesday, with an afternoon tilt against District of Columbia on its full-time home turf. That is slated to start at 2 p.m.