Millersville men’s soccer team shutdown Kutztown on Wednesday September 17, however they came up just short of a late comeback against PSAC West foes, Merceyhurst this past weekend. The loss ended their undefeated run at six wins, yet could prove to be a vital lesson heading into the huge matchup against PSAC East leaders, East Stroudsburg on September 24. East Stroudsburg is fourth in the nation, according to the current NSCAA/ Adidas National Rankings.
“If we were told before the season started that we would be 6-1 and this point in the season, we would have been thrilled. We had a great start to the season and the Merceyhurst loss is not a big hit to our team. It’s not the end of the world. We had an off game and this should be a good lesson as we prepare for the big game, East Stroudsburg. It’s just one loss,” said Senior Matthew Procopio We just need to come to play next week. We can start there and try to go back on another six game win streak.”
Both games were considered sloppy by the team’s standards, despite the Marauders picking up the win against Kutztown.
Millersville pounded the opposing team’s goal, but struggled to find the net. That was until Senior Procopio slotted home a penalty kick shortly before the first half came to a close, after Junior Stephen Melnick was taken out in the box.
Kutztown brought their side back into the game with a quick goal in the beginning of the second half.
Despite being dominant throughout, the Marauders could not find the net and found the score all knotted up at 1 a-piece, at the beginning of the second half. Senior Sean McLaughlin struck twice later in the second half and gave his side the 3-1 victory.
Senior Ryan Kiley had this to say about his team’s performance, “We dominated the game but let them stay in it. The penalty kick gave us some relief, but they snuck in a cheap goal to tie the game up in the second half. We continued to pressure and were rewarded by two great goals by Mclaughlin to seal the game.” “It was a tough sloppy game. Teams are gunning for us and do not think we are as good we appear. All we can do is keep pushing and prove ourselves each game.” Kiley said.
The second game of the week was on Sunday, September 21, at Mercyhurst. This was the Marauders first chance at beating a PSAC West opponent. It appeared that the sloppy play against Kutztown may have seeped over into this game. Millersville pressured most of the game but struggled to squeak anything in to the net.
Mercyhurst pulled ahead by two goals and it was not until the last 10 minutes of the game that Millersville’s Ryan Kiley hit the net. The Marauders continued to push forward seeking their second goal but fell short of an equalizer.
“We need to finish better and we will look to improve on that. At least we are creating chances, which would be harder to deal with. We are content with how our season has went so far, and now we get to see how we react and respond to the defeat. Obviously, I am as disappointed as the team. It’s my responsibility and I take it personally,” said Coach Steve Widdowson.
Ryan Kiley added, “We need to cut out the sloppy play, and improve on our possession game in the other team’s half. We also need to maintain our attack while shutting down the quick breaks from the other team.”
With the first loss of the season against Mercyhurst in the past, the team has shifted focus to the toughest opponent they will face all season, East Stroudsburg.
Getting their first loss of the season, optimistically, could have come at the right time. It could come as a wakeup call. The team was able to discover some elements of the game that need improving on.
It also adds some extra motivation to a team that has came a long way the past couple of years.