Men’s soccer breaks school record with 13th win


Photo by Nick Koehler

Juniors Mitchell Roell and Geert Bijl celebrate a win with a hug in a game at the Montour Junction Sports Complex. The celebration continued when the team beat the school record for most wins in a season.

Written By Rachael McKriger, Staff Writer

Records are meant to be broken.

The Point Park men’s soccer team did just that by earning their 13th straight victory against Washington & Jefferson on Saturday. The Pioneers have been dominant this season, with confidence oozing. That confidence has resulted in successful performances and plenty of goals.

However, the Pioneers know the job isn’t done yet. They’re aiming for a title and a playoff berth in the NCAA Tournament. Kakanou Fotie, a senior defensive midfielder from Cameroon, said that the focus is still on the team’s next four-straight conference matches.

“We always focused on the game in front of us and never thought about the school’s record and things like that,” Fotie said. “But, to be part of such an amazing season is indescribable… We still have big games in front of us, so we’re looking to focus on those at the moment.

Point Park ended their week with a new record under their belt. However, the team kicked off the week at home against conference opponent — and city rival — Carlow University. Point Park showed off their dominance, scoring seven goals in a 7-0 victory.

Carlow barely had possession of the ball, as senior defender Wessel Rietveld called the Pioneers the better squad. 

“We put them under high pressure and they couldn’t escape from it,” Rietvelt explained. “To win against a team from your city is great, although we knew they were not that much of a strong opponent.”

Facts back up the statement, as Carlow has no victories or draws this season. Carlow has racked up 10 losses in a row. Carlow had a hard time containing Pioneers forward Mitchell Roell, who scored three goals for his second hat trick of the season.

“I had a lot of shots this game and [Carlow’s] keeper did a very good job and made some great saves,” Roell said. “But after a lot of attempts, some had to find the back of the net. Our team is very solid and is very strong, from our goalkeeper all the way up to the strikers. This allows me to get a lot of opportunities to score.”

Rietveld was one of five players to score. He found the back of the net multiple times. However, Geert Bijl, Jonathan Roos, Jaime Rodriguez and Emmanuel Ndayisenga tallied a goal each. Roell said seeing other players score gives everyone confidence.

“I’m not always going to be there or in the game to score goals,” Roell said. “It is great that we have a lot of players on this team that can score, so that we are not reliant on one or two players.”

Roell’s work ethic has earned him praise from his teammates, including Fotie.

“What makes Mitch so prolific for the team, above all, is his work rate,” Fotie said. “He always works for the team on both sides of the ball and can always make space for himself in dangerous areas of the opposition’s goal, which leads to goal scoring chances. Credit to our midfield, as well, for being able to find him in those pockets.”

Point Park’s match against Washington & Jefferson was tighter. This was the first time in 2019 that the Pioneers were forced into overtime. Point Park even had to go with 10 men, as Roos was shown a red card in the 85th minute.

Rietveld scored Point Park’s opening goal. Then, Washington and Jefferson opened up the second half with two unanswered goals. Bijl, a junior from the Netherlands, tied it up in the 76th minute. In extra time, Ndayisenga, a sophomore from Tanzania, scored the game-winner.

“There’s been a lot of obstacles throughout the season, with game venues and injuries, but we managed to stay humble and have put ourselves in a solid position,” Fotie said.

Point Park will have a similar schedule this week. Once again, the Pioneers will hit the road on Thursday, heading down to Beckley, West Virginia, to take on No. 18 ranked WVU Tech. On Saturday, the team will continue their road trip to Rio Grande, Ohio, to face off with No. 10 ranked University of Rio Grande.

Rietveld said the goal is simple: win, win and win.

“We just need four more wins and we can call ourselves conference champions,” he said.