Point Park University earned a hard-fought, 2-1 victory over No. 6 seed Indiana University East in the River States Conference Men’s Soccer Championship quarterfinals on Thursday t Highmark Stadium.
The Pioneers (7-6, 5-3 RSC) built a 2-0 lead and held on versus an IU East (4-8, 4-4 RSC) team that had won four of its last five games and had scored 17 goals in that span. But the Point Park defense was up to the task throughout and especially after the Red Wolves cut the score to 2-1 on Gustavo Ferrari’s tally in the 85th minute.
IU East made a desperate push at the final five minutes but the Pioneers held firm and did not concede the equalizer. The Red Wolves had 11 of their 17 shots in the second half with several at the end. IU East even pulled its goalkeeper Aaron Gipson on a few plays in the final minute, but the Pioneers had every man marked up.
Point Park came out with attacking on its mind in a 3-4-3 formation from the start. The Pioneers had several opportunities in the first 15 minutes, but the score remained 0-0. With forward Geert Bijl making runs into the box, the Pioneers were knocking on the door. In the 18th minute Bijl was taken down, which led to a penalty attempt. The senior from Netherlands got it past Gipson for the 1-0 lead.
Bijl scored both of Point Park’s goals with the second one coming on a beautiful strike five minutes after halftime. Bijl got free from about 25 yards out and banged one off the crossbar that went down and into the goal. It was his 12th goal in 13 games on the year.
Point Park goalkeeper Andrew Russell had his best game of the year and made three stops. There was also a stop by midfielder Mats Douma, who guarded the post to keep one out of the goal late in the game.
With the 2-0 lead, Point Park kept attacking and was looking for the third goal to put things away. The Pioneers nearly got it a few times, including when Lloyd van Wees hit a crossbar. Lorenzo Diaz was also involved in creating chances. He set up Jaime Rodriguez on the doorstep, but he could not convert.
Marco Monteiro held down the center of the defensive backfield for 90 minutes. He was joined by starters Conner Kelly and Jonathan Roos in the defensive effort, and Gabriel Mousa joined the backline to give the Pioneers a fourth defender when they went up 2-0.
Point Park moves on to play at University of Rio Grande (12-4, 7-1 RSC) in the semifinals on April 13. Kickoff is 6 p.m. in Rio Grande, Ohio. The RSC Game Central will provide live video streaming. Subscribe at RiverStatesConference.com/