ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. – You've heard the phrase: once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence and three times is a trend. For the Penn State Harrisburg men's soccer team, four times was unlucky and the fifth time has to make one wonder if a hex was put on the Lions sometime this fall. On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 20, the Blue & White fell to Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) foe St. Mary's (Md.) 1-0; the team's fifth one-goal loss of the season. Despite playing consistently solid soccer the past few weeks, the men just can't seem to get the bounce needed to pick up a suddenly elusive victory.
The Seahawks (5-7-2, 2-3 CAC) scored their lone goal shortly after halftime when Matthew Yurich made a cross from the left side and found Matthew Braun who put his put shot past Penn State Harrisburg goalkeeper Brandon Hoover (Lancaster, Pa. / Pequea Valley) in the game's 50th minute. Braun's third goal of the year gave St. Mary's a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Tommy Miller (Palmyra, Pa. / Palmyra Area), one of the Lions' senior captain, got off an accurate shot late in the first half that forced Seahawk keeper Austin Brown to make the save. It was one of three Blue & White shots on goal on the day. The other two came courtesy of freshman Jonathan Vanaskie (Shamokin, Pa. / Shamokin Area). The frosh's last opportunity was also one of the team's best scoring chances. Unfortunately for the visitors, Brown was in position to turn away Vanaskie's header with just 1:28 remaining in regulation.
Penn State Harrisburg was outshot by the home team 18-4 with half of the Seahawks' attempts being on target compared to three of the Lions' shots being on goal. Despite allowing the game's lone goal, Hoover made six saves on the afternoon. Sophomore Isaac Amedza (Philadelphia, Pa. / Samuel Fels) got off the team's fourth shot of the contest.
Head coach Seamus Donnelly is still focused on getting better and staying positive. "Believe it or not, we are actually staying very positive as a group. We have a strong team spirit here that is enabling us to do so. We have had some very good performances, some not so good. We have learned many lessons, but I don't feel we have had many lucky breaks. But we will not throw in the towel or any such nonsense. We will keep going, keep looking to improve, and looking to create our own breaks. I am very happy with the overall effort of the group and I know we will be okay".
The Lions will now try to put another frustrating, hard-fought defeat behind them and instead try to build on the strong soccer they have played as of late. Penn State Harrisburg now sits at 3-10-1 on the year and remains winless in conference play (0-5). The road to that elusive first league victory doesn't get any easier, however, as the Lions play host to the number two team in the country (D3Soccer.com Top 25 poll) in York (Pa.) on Wednesday night, Oct. 23 in the squad's next outing.