Media, PA. - The #4 Penn State Greater Allegheny Soccer Team (8-5-2) fought hard against #1 PSU-Brandywine on Saturday, but in the end didnt have enough in the tank to complete the upset falling 4-0. It was a hard fought match throughout and PSUGA found themselves in the game all the way to the final two minutes of play.
Coming into the match, PSUGA had only one win in their eight matches with Brandywine. However, that lone win came in the semifinal round of the PSUAC playoffs in 2015-2016. Early on it looked like they would rekindle some of the magic from that season as they kept Brandywine off the board for a majority of the first half.
Colin Bucsok (Pittsburgh, PA./Thomas Jefferson HS) and the PSUGA defense worked hard early and blocked several shots from the opposition. With the help of teammates Surendra Basnet (Pittsburgh, PA./Baldwin HS) and Dario Marina (Pittsburgh, PA./Baldwin HS) Brandywine struggled to find the opportunity they needed.
The game remained scoreless all the way to the final minute of the first half. With :41 seconds to go, Brandywine's James Celucci attempted a penalty kick that was blocked by Bucsok. However, Celluci made a heads up play taking advantage of a perfect rebound back to him that he shot in the back of the net sending Brandywine into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Head coach Dale Odim and his team worked through some halftime adjustments taking more offensive opportunities as they tried to get back into this one. Despite more opportunities, PSUGA still couldn't find the net and the score remained 1-0 .
It wasnt until 19 minutes into the half that Brandywine found the net when Daniel Willie shot one into the bottom right corner of the net to extend the lead to 2-0. Brandywine would seal the deal scoring two goals in the span of four minutes to take a 4-0 lead with four minutes left. One of those was Willie's second goal of the day and PSU-Brandywine held the lead and advanced to the PSUAC Championship.
Bucsok had a great day in net making 18 saves on 22 shots on goal in his 90 minutes in net. He finished just one save shy of the single game record and kept his team in the game all day long.
Brandywine possesed the ball for a lot of the game finishing with 46 shots to PSUGA's five. Senior Belmo Nurkic (Pittsburgh, PA./Baldwin HS) led the group with three shots all on goal. Of the team's five total shots on the day, four of them came at the beginning of the second half after some key adjustments.
With the loss, PSUGA has been eliminated from the PSUAC playoffs and Brandywine will move on to the PSUAC Championship game on Wednesday October 31st. The 2018-2019 season marked the fifth straight season PSUGA has made the playoffs and the future looks bright led by Bucsok in net.
PSUGA now heads into the offseason as they train for the 2019-2020 season and look to come back stronger than ever.