The Mercyhurst College men’s soccer team got off to the perfect start, winning their first game, 2-0, against Seton Hill University.
Junior Alex Manea scored the first goal for the Lakers with just four minutes remaining. He received the ball on the left side of the box, turned, and curled the ball into the far corner from 20 yards.
Senior Dean Atkins then sealed the victory two minutes later. Seton Hill pushed players forward looking to equalize, and the Lakers used that extra space to their advantage.
Freshman Matthew Campana, playing in his first collegiate game, won the ball and played a through ball for Atkins. He was then on a breakaway while two defenders chased him down. Atkins, with defenders on his heels, cut the ball back beating the defenders and then placed the ball in the corner, beating the keeper.
The Mercyhurst defense was extremely stingy not allowing the Griffons any clear chances to score.
Graduate defender Sam Gore saw this as a key to the win.
“As a team we defended well all over the pitch and we stopped them from playing,” Gore said, who was also playing in his first collegiate game.
The Lakers increased the intensity in the second half and showed their superior fitness by keeping up the pressure on the tiring Griffons.
“It was a solid team performance. There are lots of areas where we can and will improve but for our first competitive game it was pleasing and we deserved the win,” Gore said.
The Lakers dominance showed by outshooting the Griffons 24-5, leaving goalkeeper Diego Gustin with little to do.
The victory gave head coach Dale White his first career win, which he says was a relief.
“Just to win the game and see the guys get what they deserve is enough for me. Getting the goals was the hard part,” White said.
Gore was also pleased to see the team being well supported.
“It was great to see such a good crowd for the opening game. It really helps us players on the pitch when we have good support from the stands and it is much appreciated,” Gore said.