Hershey, Pa. - Penn State Harrisburg refuses to end their 2014 Cinderella season and showed their perseverance in an exciting 1-0 Eastern College Athletic Conference first round tournament win at Hershey Park Stadium over the visiting Cabrini College Cavaliers.
Both teams started out strong as the impressive passing and movement showed why both squads deserved a place in the ECAC tournament. The Lions had multiple goal scoring opportunities in the first half with the Blue and White testing the Cav's goalkeeper C.J. Serratore frequently. Harrisburg struggled to get anything past him as well the crossbar which the Lions hit twice in the first.
In the second half it was more of the same as the large Hershey Park field allowed for plenty of back and forth play. In the end, it became a defense standoff with both squads not allowing their opponent to end the scoreless tie. The Lions keeper Brandon Hoover (Lancaster, Pa. / Pequea Valley) played tremendous and his important four saves stopped some very dangerous chances from Cabrini.
Offensively the Lions hit the crossbar another two times in the second half as they continued to win the possession and shot battle. Harrisburg outshot the Cavalier's 16-8 and also held the corner kick advantage 10-3. Unfortunately, despite creating a multitude of chances the home team could not manage to break through.
After a full 90 minutes of regulation and almost completing the first overtime period, it felt as if penalty kicks would eventually determine the outcome of the game. In a sense they did, Alex Panuccio (Mechanicsburg, Pa. / Mechanicsburg Area) took it upon himself to beat two defenders and work himself in the 18 yard box. The Cav's third defender could only foul to stop Panuccio from getting to the net and a penalty kick was called. Panuccio then stepped up and calmly buried his shot into the top left corner for the game winner with just 1:34 to go in the first overtime period.
The #1 seeded Lions advance to the ECAC South semi-finals on Saturday to face the winner of the #5 Swarthmore College and #4 Alvernia College who played Wednesday evening. Check back soon for Saturday's semi-final game details.