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Point Park men lose first conference match of season to WVU Tech, 5-3

Photo Courtesy Point Park University Athletics

Point Park University men’s soccer team suffered its first loss in River States Conference play this year with Thursday’s 5-3 defeat to WVU Tech at Highmark Stadium. The Pioneers (6-2, 6-1 RSC) fell behind the Golden Bears (6-1, 6-1 RSC) early and could never pull even or ahead. 

WVU Tech got out to a 2-0 lead the first 10 minutes and was ahead, 3-0, after 30 minutes. Point Park had been knocking at the door the first half hour but could not get on the board.

The Pioneers finally caught a break when they were awarded a penalty kick, and Geert Bijl put it in to cut the score to 3-1 late in the first half. A big goal came just a bit later, however, as the Golden Bears regained the three-goal lead with Fletcher Caponecchia’s tally just before the break. 

Down 4-1 after 45 minutes, the Pioneers came out with some spirit in the second half. They fought to within 4-2 when Rafael Murube found Ndayisenga Emmanuel  for a header on a corner kick in the 65th minute.

But just as they had done before, WVU Tech answered to go back up 5-2. This time it was Anders Sandsto with his second goal of the game, which came just five minutes later. 

Point Park still had hope after Niyonyishu Heritier scored to cut the margin to 5-3. That came in the 81st minute, and it was set up by Murube and Bijl with some nice passing to get it to the open man. 

But that was it for either team. The Pioneers had nine of their 14 shots after halftime but could not catch up. WVU Tech had a 20-14 edge in shots for the game although the Pioneers had one more shot on goal (9) than the Golden Bears (8).

Point Park had several near misses that just didn’t go their way throughout the game. That included a couple of free kicks in the first half from just outside the 18, both of which were very hard shots that DeMonte stopped with nice saves. The Pioneers also had an indirect kick inside the 6-yard in the first half. Despite Bijl’s rocket from about 12 feet from the goal line, DeMonte somehow got enough of the ball to deflect it away. 

Within the first minute of the second half, the Pioneers had a free kick that went just inches above the crossbar. A few minutes later, Bijl hit a post on a very nice strike, but the score remained 4-1. 

Point Park has one more game in the fall season, which is Tuesday, Nov. 17 at home versus Asbury (Ky.). Kickoff is 2 p.m. at Highmark Stadium. The Pioneers will then look ahead to the spring season, which includes the RSC Championship playoffs.

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).

PItt MF Michael Sullivan

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