Middletown, Pa – The Penn State Harrisburg men's soccer team refuses to let anyone define their 2014 season. They were picked to finish last in the Capital Athletic Conference preseason poll and used the momentum all season as they fought for win after win; eventually finishing second place in regular season play. The Lions continued to defy the naysayers as they defeated a quality St. Mary's (Md.) team 1-0 in a double overtime thriller at the Penn State Harrisburg soccer complex Wednesday November 5th.
The game started off with both teams feeling each other out for most of the first half. The Lions best early chance came from a Mike Jones (Harrisburg, Pa. / Central Dauphin) bicycle kick that sailed spectacularly just a foot over the crossbar midway through the first.
St. Mary's had a few chances of their own, but Harrisburg's Brandon Hoover (Lancaster, Pa. / Pequea Valley) continued his stellar play matching the Seahawks shots stride for stride. Tonight's shut out gave him seven on the season.
The game opened up in the second half as the men started to wear done some, but the speed of play remained high as well as the ferocity of the 50/50 challenges. As the regulation clock wound down, it almost felt as if the game was set to head to penalty kicks as both teams goalies refused to allow a ball into their net.
It took a great combination play from the Blue and White that eventually found Jimmy Bilger (Slatington, Pa. / Northern Lehigh) in the corner, his cross and an unlucky St. Mary's bounce finally broke the scoreless contest. The Seahawk's own goal came in the 103rd minute in double overtime.
With the exciting win, Harrisburg advances to the CAC finals for the first time in school history. The Blue and White will now host #5 seed Christopher Newport, 20th in the country, for a shot at the CAC title and a trip to the NCAA tournament. The game will be held Saturday November 8th at 2:00 pm at the Penn State Harrisburg soccer complex.
Watch post game interview with Brandon Hoover below.