The Mercyhurst men’s soccer team clinched the PSAC regular season after their 2-1 double overtime win over Millersville. Mercyhurst was granted home field advantage to host the PSAC finals for the fourth season in a row.
The Lakers did not expect to find themselves in this position early on in the season, though. There were struggles the team faced early on in the season, giving them a slow start.
“The pressure was on, after winning last year. When the season started we were picked to win again this year. It was such a close race this year. We had lost three games in a row, and it really took us a while to get together,” junior Joe Korb said.
Millersville was a big game for the Lakers, as it determined who would host this year’s PSAC championship game.
The Lakers were up 1-0 at the end of the first half due to a goal by graduate student Thom Derks. However, Millersville answered with a goal in the 56th minute to take the game into overtime. The game then went double overtime when Korb beat Millersville’s goaltender with just eight seconds left to play.
“There was 30 seconds left in the game, and the ball was on the other side of the field. There was a foul on our team, and everyone kept saying ‘hurry up’ because the clock was running. Danny [ Lowton] came up and said ‘run straight to the goalie.’ Next thing I know there is 13 seconds left on the clock, the ball fell to my feet past three Millersville players, and everyone just yelled ‘shoot!” Korb said.
This goal was Korb’s fourth for the season and his second game-winning goal.
The Lakers ended the season 9-7-1 overall. The losses at the beginning of the season took teammates by surprise. Although the Lakers lost seven games overall, they only lost one in their conference. After being known for winning last year, the new team learned success is not always going to be easy.
“I didn’t know we would do this well. We started off with new players and injuries. We had to make some changes to the team and we thought we would just come back and win. Last year’s team did so well and not having certain players anymore gave us more pressure,” freshman Michael Blancato said.
Following this win, Laker goaltender, graduate student Daniel Lowton, was named PSAC Athlete of the Week.
He had a career-high 11 saved stops against Millersville. In his 10 games played this season, he has only allowed seven goals while saving 41 shots.
The Lakers will play in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 6, at 1:30 p.m. If they win and continue to advance, they will play on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m.