Buffalo, NY - The D'Youville men's soccer team opened their season at home on Saturday afternoon, falling to the visiting Penn State-Harrisburg Lions 2-0 due to two second half goals.
Harrisburg came out aggressive in the first half with five shots and four corner kicks in the first 10 minutes of play. Despite their early attacking mindset, the Lions were unable to score as many shots sailed high or wide to keep the game scoreless.
As the game progress, Penn State began to get shots on frame, forcing goalkeeper Peter Petruzzo (Clarence, NY/Clarence) to make a pair of saves a few minutes apart.
Nearing the halfway point of the first half, midfielder Brandon Pauly (Owego, NY/Owego) was able to get a shot off for D'Youville, but shot it just wide. The Lions then kept the pressure on the Spartans for the remainder of the half, but were still unable to beat Petruzzo and the teams went into halftime scoreless.
D'Youville came out in the second half with more offensive prowess than displayed in the first half. Pauly and Hunter Sherman (Lockport, NY/Lockport) were able to get shots off early in the half, but couldn't find the back of the net. In the 57th minute, however, the Lions were able to find it and broke the scoreless tie.
A foul in the box led to a Harrisburg PK and the shooter hit a strike to the left side of goal to give Penn State the advantage. Less than 10 minutes later, the Lions were able to find the goal once again after a balled played into the box was directed home, giving them the 2-0 lead.
Despite a late red card for the Lions giving D'Youville the man advantage, the Spartans were not able to capitalize, falling in their home opener 2-0.
"Give credit to Coach K and Penn State-Harrisburg," said head coach Brendan Murphy. "They were a very well organized team with dangerous players across the field."
Sophomore captain Josh Hammer (Amherst, NY/Amherst) had a solid game on defense to go with juniors Mike Lekanka (Newfane, NY/Newfane) and Aweso Noor (Buffalo, NY/Canisius). In the midfield, freshman Rehte Ru (Thailand Refugee Camp/Riverside) and Abhijit Gopinath (Brampton, ON, CA/Fletcher's Meadow) had impressive debuts.
Coach Murphy is already looking for his team to bounce back in their next game on Monday.
"The great news is that we get to go back to work again in less than 48 hours against a very good Thiel team."
The Spartans will play Thiel on Monday, September 5th at 7pm at the Tomcats.