ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend men's soccer team converted on two corner kicks to give them a 2-0 victory over La Roche on Saturday afternoon, improving to an unprecedented 8-0 in AMCC (Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference) action.
The Lions (13-4, 8-0) controlled most of the play against the Redhawks (7-9-1, 4-3-1), holding 25-13 shot advantage, recording 16 in the second half, and only allowing three shots on target the entire match.
As soon as the whistle blew to begin the to game, Behrend created goal scoring opportunities. Richard Blanchard (Erie, PA/Cathedral Prep) had possession of the ball, looked up and played a through ball to Matt Baleno (Pittsburgh, PA/Plum) who made a diagonal run behind the La Roche defense. As Baleno was approaching the ball, goalkeeper Abdullah Alijundi ran out of the box to clear the ball, shutting down the scoring threat.
Just under 15 minutes into the game, Matt Dziadosz (Leechburg, PA/Kiski Area) collected the ball around the 18 yard box and was able to get off a shot on target. After the goalkeeper made the initial save, the ball came loose and Blanchard was able to pick up the rebound. He collected the ball and chipped a shot over the head of Alijundi, but a Redhawks defender was able to boot the ball off the line before it rolled into the net.
It didn't come until 39:56 mark, when Ryan Maurer (Cranberry Twp, PA/Seneca Valley) lined up for a Behrend corner kick. He whipped the ball into the center of the box, and James Young (Murrysville, PA/Franklin Regional) tracked the ball and headed it in the back of the net for his first collegiate goal, giving the Lions a 1-0 before halftime.
The second half began in very similar fashion to the first half. Maurer played a 50 yard diagonal ball to a wide on Aaron Harris (Washington, PA/McGuffey) with space to run. Harris took a few touches, cut the ball past a defender, and released a shot from the 6 yard box, but Alijundi was able to turn away the point-blank shot.
At the 61st minute, Nick Mckee (Bridgeville, PA/South Fayette) added a second goal to score when he buried a header off the inside of the post into the net. Dziadosz crossed in the corner kick, and Mckee made a near-post run to find the ball with his head and give the Lions a 2-0.
Dziadosz tried adding to the score shortly after when he received the ball on the right side of the field 25 yards out from goal. He dribbled at the defender, shimmied right, took a touch left, and rifled a curling shot off the crossbar.
Sophomore goalkeeper Chris Ralph (Murrysville, PA/Franklin Regional) tallied three saves on the day, notching his seventh shutout of the season.
Behrend is back in action when they battle again Medialle for the first-place seed in the AMCC playoffs. The game will be played on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.