Sunday, November 5, 2017

Soccer Champions - Lycoming Warriors down top-ranked Falcons, 2-1

Photo Courtesy of Lycoming Sports Information
GRANTHAM, Pa. – Junior goalkeeper Chris Solecki (Hainesport, N.J./Lenape) made a sliding save with under 30 seconds remaining and junior defender Jake Webb (Fairless Hills, Pa./Conwell-Egan Catholic) recorded a goal and an assist in the first half as the second-seeded Lycoming College men’s soccer team came away with a 2-1 win over No. 1 seed Messiah College in the MAC Commonwealth Championship on Saturday night, Nov. 4, at Shoemaker Field.

“It’s funny, that’s exactly what we talked to the guys about in the locker room before the game,” Lycoming’s fifth-year head coach Nate Gibboney said. “Last year at this time, we were sitting at home watching everybody else in the country play with our coulda, shouda, wouldas. The next day we had our team meetings and it was we’ve got a year to get ourselves together and to work and that’s going to be us next year. That’s been the mindset and the attitude of the guys from this day last year. They worked and worked and this opportunity came for them and they made the most of it.”

Twelfth-ranked Lycoming (18-2 overall) won its third MAC Commonwealth title in five years and recorded its first win on Shoemaker Field since 1999, as it downed the top-ranked team in the poll and third-ranked team in the United Soccer Coaches Poll. The Warriors, who tied the school-record for wins in a season set in 2015, clinched the MAC Commonwealth’s automatic qualifier in the NCAA Division III Championship and will hear its name called during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, Nov. 6, at 1:30 p.m.

The Warriors scored two goals in the first 20 minutes of play, both off corner kicks against the top-ranked defense in the MAC Commonwealth coming in, as Messiah (18-2 overall) allowed just eight goals in its first 19 games. Junior Sainclair Tueno (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair) got on the board first with his 10th goal of the season, which came late in the fourth minute when Webb’s corner flew to the top of the six-yard box and Tueno headed it hard into the left corner for the 1-0 lead. In the 20th minute, Webb’s corner kick flew into a flurry of action in front of the box and then bent into the far left netting.

Tueno scored a goal in each conference playoff game, while playing strong defense, earning the tournament MVP honors for the second time in three years, as he scored all three goals for the Warriors during the 2015 MAC Commonwealth Championship.

“Sainclair’s a monster. That kid is unbelievable and every time there’s a corner that goes up, he’s going to score it,” senior Jordan Logan (Oxford, Pa./Oxford Area) said. “We knew that was going to put them in a different mentality. We knew we couldn’t give up the first goal and if we did, we were going to be struggling the whole time like at our place. Thank goodness he scored it.”

After coming out strong in the first 20 minutes of the game, forcing the Falcons back on their heels and taking four corner kicks in the first half, the Warriors turned it over to their defense to secure the win in the second half while Messiah used an attacking formation to try to get back into the game. The Lycoming defense made multiple stands late with slide tackles and getting in front and blocking shots, limiting quality Messiah chances while slowing down the highest-scoring team in the conference. Still, in the 89th minute, the Falcons were able to cut the lead to a goal on a high arcing shot from Kirby Robbins.

Solecki made seven saves in the win, including a couple diving saves to preserve the lead. Connor Bell made three saves for the Falcons.

Soccer Game Summary (Final)
                        Lycoming College Warrior Soccer
           #12 Lycoming vs #3 Messiah (Nov 04, 2017 at Grantham, PA)

Lycoming (18-2-0) vs. Messiah (18-2-0)
Date: Nov 04, 2017  Attendance: 1980
Weather: low 50's, rain

Goals by period       1  2  Tot
Lycoming............  2  0 -  2
Messiah.............  0  1 -  1

  1.   3:57 LYCOM Sainclair Tueno (10) (Jake Webb)
  2.  19:14 LYCOM Jake Webb (3) Corner kick
  3.  88:16 MESSM Kirby Robbins (13) (Shay Quintin)

Shots: Lycoming 10, Messiah 17
Saves: Lycoming 7 (Chris Solecki 7), Messiah 3 (Connor Bell 3)

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