Men’s soccer goes 1-1 on road, starts conference play 0-1

Written By Michael Richter

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On the road this past week, Point Park Men’s Soccer went 1-1, which brought the team’s overall record to 4-3-1 and conference record to 0-1.

“Each game is an opportunity for us to get closer to the national tournament, so we need to continue to dig deep and take results from every opponent — no matter what their level [of difficulty],” said Pioneers goalie Zak Borzovoy of his team’s current status. “We’re at the point where everyone should know their roles and responsibilities, and it is now more about being mentally strong and continuing to improve with each training session and each performance.”

Point Park defeated Penn State-Beaver on the road 2-1 on Sept. 14.

The Pioneers’ defense played a major role in the victory. The Nittany Lions mustered up seven shots on goal as opposed to the Pioneers’ 21. Moreover, Penn State-Beaver amassed just 13 total shots. Borzovoy made six saves and let in only one goal — which was in the 21st minute.

Sophomore forward Alan Ramos accounted for over a third of Point Park’s shots on goal total with eight; he also registered one goal, which came 13 minutes into the game. Three minutes later, defenseman Paul Carr scored a goal on an assist from Dominic Canello — a lead the Pioneers maintained for the remainder of the game.

On Sept. 19, the Pioneers played at Rio Grande, the No. 5 ranked team in the NAIA, and lost 4-0.

Rio Grande struck first with a goal from Heitor de Melo 29 minutes into the first period. Point Park kept the score close for most of the game. Then, early in the second period, Pioneers midfielder Cristian Mika received the team’s second yellow card of the game, which gave the team a red card, and Mika was removed from play.

“It noticeably affected us being a man down, said Point Park forward Troy Dolanch. “So we struggled to get out of our half and string passes together.”

Since Rio Grande had a one man advantage, the Pioneers struggled to generate offense in the second period. Point Park recorded only one shot on goal in the second half and four total shot attempts.

“As soon as we pushed to try and get a goal back,” Carr said regarding playing with a one man disadvantage, “they stretched the game and just simply had too much space and took advantage of that.”

Rio Grande benefited from the man advantage, as it scored three goals in the second half. Willian Paulino scored a goal at the 64 minute mark. Ben Mendoza kicked a ball in the back of the net approximately 79 minutes into the game for Rio, then scored again seven minutes later for a final time.

“Our team has learned a lot facing tough teams,” said Ramos. “We know we can compete with them. We just can’t make anymore big mistakes.”

Point Park’s battle with Rio Grande marked its first Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) game, and is the second game in which the team has faced a top-10 ranked opponent. Despite losing to both high-ranked schools, the Pioneers view the games as a positive experience.

“There’s nothing better for us as a team than to face the top teams in the league,” Borzovoy said. “Because it not only helps us to hopefully gain recognition as a program, but it helps us know the level that we need to compete at in order to become ranked and reach the national tournament.”

Point Park also appreciates the tough tests early on in the season because they can gauge the level of performance among the best teams in the nation.

“These early, tough games are nice because we see where we are at, and where we need to be in order to come out with a [victorious] result,” Dolanch said.

The Pioneers return to action Sept. 22 against Grove City at home, where the team hosts a 2-1-0 record thus far this season.

“I know the squad well,” Carr said. “And I know they will all be eager to get out on the field Tuesday night. We win together, we lose together — and we will be ready to go for the next game.”

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