Men snap win streak, look ahead to last games


Photo by Nick Koehler

Junior forward Mitchell Roell takes a shot on goal. Roell scored the first of two goals for Point Park in Monday’s game at Rio.

Written By Rachael McKriger, Staff Writer

Records are made to be broken, but winning streaks don’t last forever.

For the Point Park men’s soccer team, their 13-match winning streak ended on Thursday on the road. Taking on nationally-ranked WVU Tech, the Pioneers kept a tight match, but injuries and even a two-goal game from Geert Bijl couldn’t propel the Pioneers to a 14th victory.

Instead, the Pioneers fell 4-3 in West Virginia.

WVU Tech opened up the scoring early, but a quick goal from the Pioneers leveled the match. WVU Tech responded back with two goals in the span of two minutes, breaking down Point Park’s defense. However, the Pioneers pulled one back to cut WVU’s lead to one, after Bijl scored his first of two goals.

The second half featured another early goal from WVU Tech. Bijl recorded another goal, but the Pioneers couldn’t find an equalizer in the last 30 minutes of action.

Conner Kelly, a sophomore midfielder, said there’s plenty of comparisons between the Pioneers and WVU Tech.

“They’re fast and physical just like us,” Kelly said. “In a game like that, it’s all about taking your chances and making as little mistakes as possible. They edged us out. On another day maybe we edge them out. I’m proud of the way we played. We can’t hang our heads, though. We must keep a positive spirit.”

Meanwhile, senior defender/midfielder Kakanou Fotie said that the Pioneers had a slow start to Thursday’s match.

“We had a slow start and conceded early,” Fotie said. “But, we fought back to get into the game. They simply took their chances more clinically than us.”

Wessel Rietveld, a senior midfielder, said that Point Park was confident, but knew that playing a nationally ranked team — WVU Tech is No. 12 in the nation — would prove to be a large challenge.

“We also had two injuries that didn’t help, including Jonathan Roos and Nawfel Bichiba,” Rietveld said. “One of our captains, Mitchell Roell, was also injured, too. We gave everything we had, but the luck wasn’t on our side that day.”

However, the Pioneers aren’t letting one loss affect them. The team is proud of their historical 13-game winning streak. Rietveld said that it’s not an easy feat to do, and one that the team is certainly grateful to accomplish.

“We are having a great season, and a 4-3 loss against a top-15 team will happen,” Rietveld said.

“It’s a great feat and we are beyond happy to be able to achieve it, while setting a school record in the process,” Fotie said. “It’s a shame that it came to an end… but we have to be prepared for the next match mentally and come out strong.”

Point Park’s next match was supposed to be last Saturday against the University of Rio Grande. However, the competition was postponed due to severe weather and traveling conditions for the Pioneers. The match was rescheduled for Monday.

Rietveld said that Roell and Bichiba should return from injury.

“We have to stay calm and do nothing special or crazy,” Rietveld said. We need to just keep playing how we always do. I’m optimistic about Rio Grande.”

Meanwhile, Kelly said that facing Rio Grande — another nationally ranked team, at No. 14 — will be another hard-fought battle.

“We have to keep our heads up and be proud of our achievements and the way we played on Thursday,” Kelly said. But, we must put that game behind us and focus on Rio. It will be another battle, and we’re confident of bringing the win home. We won’t let that loss change our attitude, it will only strengthen us.”

Point Park has a busy home-stretch this weekend. The Pioneers return home to close out the regular season on Thursday and Saturday. However, both matches will be at the Montour Sports Junction Complex in Coraopolis. Thursday’s match against Cincinnati Christian University will begin at 1:30 p.m. while Saturday’s contest against Brescia University will begin at 2:30 p.m.