Men’s soccer defeats regional rival Behrend

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By MATT MASCOLO

Staff Writer

[email protected]

After falling to conference foe Denison last Saturday, the men’s soccer team defeated regional rival Penn State Behrend at a final score of 2-1 at home on Monday night.
Coming off the loss to Denison, the Gators were off to a shaky start against Behrend.
“We didn’t really play well early,” head coach Angelo Panzetta said. “We made some adjustments at the half. I was really pleased with our effort and execution in the second half. We were much sharper.”
As the first half came to a close, a goal by Behrend’s Jake Gamble allowed the Lions to take the lead, and left the Gators with their fourth consecutive scoreless half, their longest drought of the season.
Going into the second half trailing 1-0, Allegheny quickly tied it up with a goal by junior Conor Azevedo from the assist of Andrew Miller, ’13.
The match-up was a physical one, but the physicality benefited the Gators with the ejection of Behrend head coach Dan Perritano. Lions midfielder Michael Liebdzinski was also sent to the locker room after gaining his second yellow card of the day. The Gators were also given two yellow cards during the first half when an argument broke out at midfield.
Coach Panzetta was skeptical of the calls.
“It was a physical game like always with teams down I-79, but that happens with regional rivalries,” said Panzetta. “Many of these kids played each other in high school and on club teams. It was more the way the refs handled the incidents that made it seem worse.”
Goalkeeper John Lichina, ’14, was also hesistant about the ejections.
“The Behrend coach getting sent off was completely illegitimate because he was completely within his rights with what he was saying,” said Lichina. “The referee wasn’t having it and kind of overreacted.”
Despite their ten fouls, the Gators avoided any ejections. Captain Travis Tasker, ’13, applauded the Gators ability to stay in the game, even after their two yellow cards.
“”I was happy with the way we were able to keep our composure, but I honestly expect nothing less from our guys,” said Tasker. “Getting yellow cards and losing composure in big games won’t help us in the long run.”
Tasker’s poise and leadership helped the Gators to prevail in the final minutes of the match. In the 85th minute, Tasker sent a cross to David Del Greco, ’13, at the top of the box. Del Greco kicked the ball over the head of an approaching defender to score his fourth game-winner of the season.
Del Greco has been a bright spot for the Gators. He recently won NCAC Player of the Week and has six goals for the season in addition to being third in the league in scoring.
“Dave transferring here has been a huge plus for us this year,” Panzetta said. “He’s had a major impact in every game.”
“Dave’s had a huge impact on the team,” said Lichina. “He works really hard everyday. He’s scored a lot of goals for us this year. He’s definitely the highest scorer on the team and he pushes everyone else to work that much harder to get better.”
The Gators head west to Indiana this weekend to face the Little Giants of Wabash College. Both Allegheny and Wabash seek their second conference victory as the two teams jockey for position in the NCAC. The teams will face off Saturday at noon.

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