Penn State Harrisburg picked up a huge win over eleventh ranked Christopher Newport Saturday October 25th. The playoffs are not locked in, but look to be within reach for the 12-4 Lions as they continue on their tear in the Capital Athletic Conference as well as matching their most single season wins in program history.
The Blue and White came into Saturday's matchup with Christopher Newport in hopes of getting a step closer to the CAC playoffs and possibly locking down a first round bye in the postseason. They made yet another huge statement with their win over the nationally ranked Captains by a score of 3-1.
After honoring five seniors, three of which were starters for the Lions this season, prior to the game; Penn State Harrisburg took the field for this very intriguing CAC showdown between two top conference contenders. Penn State Harrisburg got off to a quick start as junior standout Aaron Kline (Lebanon, Pa. / Eastern Lebanon County) got the ball rolling with his eighth goal of the season just twelve minutes into the game. Alex Panuccio (Mechanicsburg, Pa. / Mechanicsburg Area) found the back of the net not too long after as he connected with his penalty kick in the 31st minute to give the Lions a 2-0 advantage.
The Captains refused to give up as they fired shot after shot toward the Penn State Harrisburg goal. Lion's goalkeeper Brandon Hoover (Lancaster, Pa. / Pequea Valley) came up huge for Harrisburg when he saved a penalty kick and was able to get back up to save the deflection seconds later to keep the Captains from starting a comeback. Despite being outshot 20 to 7, the defense of Penn State Harrisburg stood strong and allowed the Blue and White to walk away with their second win over a nationally ranked team this season.
Coach Seamus Donnelly was quoted following the game saying "Today was a great day for our team, and especially our seniors. All season we have tried to keep the focus on the team performance rather than the outcome. If we keep performing to our highest level, then we know we have a good chance in every game." He went on to say, "Today was a wonderful overall performance and the result went our way as well. Christopher Newport is an excellent team and a class program and I am so proud that our players showed they belong at that level."
Penn State Harrisburg despite the amazing record and contention to still finish in first place, will have to wait one more game to confirm they are in the playoffs. It would take a lot to knock them out of the playoffs, even if they lost their final game of the season. The positions are extremely tight and nothing is set in stone at this point.
The Lions will finish up the regular season on the road Wednesday at Mary Washington at 3:30 pm.