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Road to Highmark: Gannon rolls to big win, set to host Super Region I matches on December 5-7

Gannon University players celebrate a big win on Sunday. (Photo courtesy Gannon University athletics)

Gannon University’s men’s soccer team haven’t been to the NCAA Division II men’s soccer tournament since 2012, and now, after beating Assumption, 5-0, on Sunday as host of the Division II’s regional first and second rounds, they now have a chance to stay in Western Pennsylvania as long as they keep winning.

With Eastern Region’s top seed Adelphi losing on Sunday, Gannon, the region’s number two seed, will now host Super Region 1 Semifinals/Championships on December 5-7 at McConnell Family Stadium. The winner of the Super Region will earn a berth in the NCAA Division II Championship Final Four to be played the following weekend (Dec. 12 & 14) at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh.

This will be the second consecutive year the NCAA Division II men’s and women’s soccer tournament Final Four will be played in Pittsburgh.


Gannon had no shortage of goals in the NCAA Tournament second-round win over the visiting Assumption.

The Golden Knights ran away with a 5-0 win over the Greyhounds playing arguably their best executed game all season. It didn’t take long for Gannon to connect offensively as Joe Knox (Gold Coast, Australia/The Southport School) scored the game winner just eight minutes into action.

Knox secured the game for the Knights just eight minutes into the match. A Gannon defender played the ball back to goalkeeper Chandler Hallwood (Halifax, England/Woodhouse Grove), who sent a long ball down field. Knox gave chase, beating an Assumption defender to send the ball into to the left of the net. It deflected off the left post past the goalkeeper for the first goal of the game.

Ivan Manfredi (Chiavari, Italy/Liceo Scientifico Marconi Delpino) scored just 20 minutes later to give Gannon a 2-0 advantage. Alex Lee Yaw (Jamestown, N.Y./Mercyhurst Prep) set up for a Gannon throw in. On the pass, Chad Barrick (Gahanna, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln) headed the ball down to the turf, where Manfredi was able to use one touch for a goal into the middle of the net.

Lee Yaw would get his chance to score after the halftime break in the 56th minute. Lee Yaw sent a pass from midfield down to the far right corner. Knox chased the ball down bringing it back to the box. He fired a pass to Lee Yaw running full speed into the goal box who used one touch to put Gannon up 3-0. Late in the 75th minute, Manfredi would get his second goal of the game. Abdullah Say (Ruesselsheim, Germany/) sent a corner kick into the box to a wide open Manfredi who used one touch to fire past the goalkeeper.

Tinashe Katsande (Norwich, England/Dereham Sixth Form College) wrapped up the Gannon scoring in the 78th minute. The ball deflected off a defender to Katsande who beat the charging goalkeeper to put the final goal on the board for the Knights.

It was the high scoring PSAC champs’ fifth time they’ve scored at least five goals in a match this season.

In the Super Region semifinal (or the tournament’s round of 16), Gannon will play No. 3 Charleston (W. Va.), the 2017 Division II champions, at 1 p.m. on Friday, December 5.  No. 4 Franklin Pierce and No. 9 Post will play in the neutral site game at 10 a.m. that day. The winners of both match ups will play in the Super Region 1 Championship on Sunday, December 7.

Look for game times, live stat links, video links, and tournament information to be released early next week.

For the full NCAA Division II bracket, to see which teams from the other three regions have a chance to make it to Pittsburgh, click here.  One interesting note, there won’t be any schools making return visits in the Men’s Final Four this year.

FINAL: NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Final – Barry 2, West Chester 1


The second round concluded on Sunday in the DII women’s soccer championship and what a day it was. Two No. 1 seeds fell as Dixie State upset the No. 1 team in the country in UC-Colorado Springs and Nova Southeastern dominated Mississippi College.

A few Pennsylvania teams remain — as West Chester and Slippery Rock battled in a conference showdown that saw a lot of firepower early on. The Golden Rams jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but Slippery Rock came storming back to tie it. West Chester overpowered Slippery Rock in the second half with two more goals to advance.  Bloomsburg also advanced with a 4-0 win over Millersville.

Just like the men’s side, the women’s tournament has also reached the round of 16, as West Chester will now face Bloomsburg in the Women’s Super Regional.

Here is where you can find everything you need to know about the 2019 DII women’s soccer tournament at 10 a.m. on December 6.

2019 WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT: Interactive bracket

FINAL: NCAA DII Women’s Soccer Final – Bridgeport 1, Grand Valley St. 0


John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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