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Pioneers undefeated in KIAC

Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:09

The last five games for the men’s soccer team have followed a trend: the team will win a game, then lose the next game, win again and so on.

So after the team lost last Tuesday playing at Houghton College, naturally it found a way to win the next game at home against La Roche College on Thursday.

“We just got to be more consistent when it comes to playing games,” junior defender/midfielder Brett Gwosden said on the phone Friday afternoon.  “In the conference we did go undefeated, and it’s always good to have that because, when it comes down to it, that’s what really matters.  But obviously I’d rather have a better overall record.”

The team had a record of 7-6 after last Thursday’s game.  As Gwosden mentioned, it has an undefeated 4-0 record in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC). 

In the loss to Houghton in Houghton, N.Y., junior forward Romida Nanko scored the lone goal of the game for the Pioneers.  Houghton opened the scoring in the first half as Michael Amico, a senior defender scored 18 minutes and 20 seconds into the match to give them a 1-0 lead.  About 15 minutes into the second half, senior defender Michael Dix added another goal to put Point Park down by two.

Nanko’s goal, assisted by senior midfielder/defender Jack Pilkinton, came with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game and temporarily cut Houghton’s lead in half, 2-1.  But six minutes later, Houghton’s Paul Seddon, a junior defender, scored to reclaim a two-goal cushion for his team.  Houghton won by a final of 3-1.

On Thursday night at Century United Complex in South Park, the Pioneers battled La Roche and the weather conditions.

Rain soaked the field and players for much of the night.  The game started amidst the downpour but by halftime the precipitation ceased.  However, it returned later in the second half and continued through the end of the game.  A thick white fog also hung just above the field.

 “There’s a positive side [to the wet conditions] because the ball slides nice and quick and the negative side is that it goes out a couple of times,” Walstra said postgame Thursday.  “Overall it’s not a negative.”

Junior forward Ousman Jaiteh said that the wet field made the ball move faster and allowed him to use his speed to his advantage.

“It was a really fast game,” Jaiteh said after the game on Thursday.  “I guess Coach realized that so he decided to put me in to make me use my speed.”

Point Park was actually scheduled to play against Penn State University-New Kensington on Thursday, not La Roche.  But PSU had to pull out from the match possibly because of having too few players, according to the online schedule.

The game had a rather uneventful first 20 minutes. It seemed as if the teams wanted to get a feel for one another.  But then Point Park began to press its attack forward.

Following up on a corner kick from senior forward Matt Annecchiarico, senior midfielder Alex Sala smashed a shot off the center of the crossbar. 

Minutes later, Annecchiarico rushed down the left side of the field and eluded two defenders while moving the ball to senior forward Francis TabiTabi got a shot off but it flew over the net.

Sala had another opportunity when he shot the ball from the left side just wide to the right, forcing La Roche’s goalkeeper to make a diving attempt at a save.

With only one minute and 21 seconds remaining in the first half, junior defender/midfielder Brett Gwosden got the Pioneers on the board, giving the team a 1-0 lead going into halftime.

“The kid that was actually covering me at the time went in for the header and just left me free,” Gwosden said. “He hit the ball and it went right to me and I saw the back corner pretty much wide open and tried to place it there as well as I could and fortunately it went in.”

In the second half, goals came more frequently for Point Park. Almost 10 minutes into the half, Jaiteh scored with an assist from Sala.  The Pioneers led 2-0.

Jaiteh also had two collisions with La Roche’s goalkeeper, Michael Brunozzi.  The first time Jaiteh ran down the center of the field towards the ball and the goalkeeper dove feet-first at the ball tripping Jaiteh.  This sent Jaiteh flying several feet through the air and he landed hard on the ground.  It took him about a minute to get up as he looked to be in pain but he stayed in the game.  Just a few minutes later a similar play happened on the other side of the field but Jaiteh got up more quickly.

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