Buffalo, NY – The D'Youville men's soccer team played their first of three home games this week on Sunday morning as they fell to the visiting Daemen Wildcats by the final score of 1-0.
Making his second consecutive start, freshman goalkeeper Corey Sikora (Kenmore, NY/Kenmore) was tested early and often to begin the game. He was forced to make five saves in the first 14 minutes of the game, keeping the game scoreless.
Despite being outshot, the Spartans held their own with their possession game and ball movement. Pat Mann (Brighton, NY/Brighton) had a pair of corner kicks just over two minute apart to give D'Youville early scoring chances on the Wildcats.
Daemen nearly broke the defensive deadlock twice with two shots ringing off the crossbar in the 24th and 27th minutes, but the game remained scoreless. The Wildcats continued to pepper the Spartan defense with shots and pressure, but the team held strong and both sides went into the half without a goal.
Brandon Pauly (Owego, NY/Owego) started off the second half with a shot and a scoring chance for the Spartans. However, just a few minutes later Daemen found a way to break the D'Youville defense. A long ball into the box was played as the Daemen attacker controlled the ball and slid it into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
As the game went on, the Wildcats continued to come at the D'Youville defense but the Spartans held firm. With three minutes to go in the game, Hunter Sherman (Lockport, NY/Lockport) headed a ball wide for the team's final chance of the game, but the team was unable to put a shot by the Daemen keeper. The final horn would sound as the Spartans were defeated 1-0.
"This was a positive performance for us," said head coach Brendan Murphy. "It was a full team effort with different guys stepping up and making big defensive plays all over the field."
Of those players on defense making impacts, freshmen Allan Wade (Lockport, NY/Starpoint) and Paul Gettman (Amherst, NY/Williamsville South) were impressive in constantly disrupting opposing attacks. In the middle of the defense were Josh Hammer (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home) and Mike Lekanka (Newfane, NY/Newfane) that contributed in a big way to the effort.
Sikora faced 11 shots in the game, making 10 saves. Sherman once again led the offense with three shots.
Coach Murphy liked what he saw today, but wants to see his team continue to grow and get stronger as the season progresses.
"We need to find a way to build off of this and keep showing steady improvement every game," said the fourth year head coach.
The team's upcoming schedule will really test the team and their improvements over the first four games.
"We have two tough games in a row coming up against Westminster, who were in the NCAA Tournament last year and Buff State who is playing well and will be incredibly well organized and athletic," said Murphy. "We will have our work cut out for us but we will look forward to the challenges."
The men will play host for their next game on Wednesday, September 14th at 7:15pm against the Westminster Titans.