By: Matylda Zamudio
Freedom, Pa. -- The Penn State Beaver men's soccer team hosted Penn State Lehigh Valley on Saturday night for the team's second conference match of the week. The game was relocated to Freedom Senior High School due to an afternoon rain shower that damped the field at New Brighton High School. The men enter the game sitting in third place in PSUAC standings for a 3-1 overall conference record. With a win tonight, Beaver can take over second place in the conference.
As the game began, Beaver won the ball early and headed straight to Lehigh Valley's 12-yard line. But Lehigh Valley's defenders played physical and held off Beaver from scoring in the first five minutes. Then, forward Shelton Hilliard shot at the net but the ball was saved by Lehigh Valley's goaltender. As the next two minutes went on, Lehigh Valley grabbed possession of the ball, drove it down to Beaver's net and then attempted a shot by the back third, but Samuel Sharpless saved the ball. The teams went back and forth down the field, both exchanging possession of the ball and swatting the ball at each other's nets. But Beaver's vigorous effort can to fruition as Hilliard scored on an assist by Darrion Gilmore and Jacob Kosuda. The 0-1 hole didn't phase Lehigh Valley, as the men unleashed two powerful kicks into Beaver's net within two minutes to try and put themselves on the board, only to be saved by Sharpless 11 minutes in. The tone of the game heightened as both teams played more physical on both sides of the ball, which led to both teams collecting four fouls each in the next 15 minutes of the game. Lehigh Valley gained possession of the ball and attempted a shot on goal and a headshot that was saved by Sharpless. Then, Lehigh Valley's persistence paid off as the visitors scored their first goal to tie the game at 1-1 less than two minutes later. At the 29th minute, Beaver answered right back as Gilmore scored Beaver's second goal on an assist by Amsa Sanneh. In the next five minutes, Beaver did a good job maintaining the ball around the 18-yard line. But then a foul was called against Lehigh Valley, which afforded Danylo Yakymov a penalty kick. Yakymov fired and scored Beaver a third goal (3-1) at the 32nd minute. Beaver's offense took over the remaining portion of the first period, and RJ Long scored two goals on two assists by Ashish Subba, which gave Beaver a four-goal lead going into the second period (5-1).
As the second half began, Yakymov ran into some trouble early and was replaced by Joey Pail after receiving a yellow card only five minutes in. Lehigh Valley took advantage of Beaver's brief dilemma and scored less than 30 seconds later (2-5). Beaver ran into some coverage issues in midfield for the next three minutes and allowed Lehigh Valley to drive down to scoring territory and launch another goal straight into Beaver's net (3-5). As the period went on, Lehigh Valley began playing reckless and picked up three fouls and a yellow card in 13 minutes. Beaver used this opportunity to weave past Lehigh Valley's distracted midfielders, earned another goal by Williams Cruz (6-3). Beaver kept the pressure up and in the 73rd minute, David Palmer launched a kick at the net and tacked on another Beaver goal on an assist by Yakymov (7-3). A minute later, Amsa Sanneh followed up on Palmer's goal a minute later by scoring Beaver's eighth goal on an assist by Deontae Golden (8-3) and Beaver's ninth goal on an assist by Long less than two minutes after (9-3). With the clocking winding down on the game, Lehigh Valley looked frustrated and attempted a couple of shots but to no avail. With less than two minutes left, Zhaopeng Wan received a penalty kick from a red card call on Lehigh Valley. Wan swatted the ball and scored Beaver's 10th goal of the night, taking down Lehigh Valley, 10-3.
Sanneh and Long led the offense with two goals apiece. Sharpless also did a great job defending the net with 9 saves to end the night.
With Saturday's win, Beaver climbs to second place in the PSUAC standings and is 6-4 overall for the regular season. Beaver will be back for more conference action on Tuesday, Oct. 9 to compete against the men of Penn State New Kensington. The men play at home, and the game starts at 2 p.m.