McKeesport, PA. – The PSUGA Men’s Soccer Team got to take the field for the first time against a different opponent when they took on Pitt Greensburg in their first scrimmage of the year on Saturday. Despite dropping the contest 3-0, PSUGA’s defense shined against one of the top offenses in all of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.
The Bobcats were held off the board for the first 31:30 minutes of the game before they broke through on a goal from Nate Morgan (Jason Ruffing assist) to make it a 1-0 game. Just 26 seconds later the Bobcats were back on the board as Carson Gilarno scored his first goal of the scrimmage giving Pitt Greensburg a 2-0 lead.
PSUGA was able to hold the Bobcats off the board for the rest of the half and went into halftime trailing 2-0. Sophomore Goalkeeper Colin Bucsok (Pittsburgh, PA./Thomas Jefferson) performed well in the first half netting seven saves on nine shots. PSUGA would look to continue a strong defensive effort in the second half as they tried to make a comeback.
They would step up not allowing Pitt Greensburg back on the board until the 82nd minute when the Bobcat’s Javin Melvin scored his first goal of the day extending the Pitt Greensburg lead to 3-0. They would hold on to win by the final score of 3-0, however, despite the loss PSUGA got some encouraging signs from its young defense.
Idriss Benejelloun (Harrisburg, PA./Susquehanna Township HS) played a great defensive game helping to clear the ball out of PSUGA’s offensive zone while picking up two blocks on the day. Prajal Sharma (Baldwin, PA./Baldwin HS), Jagesh Subba (Pittsburgh, PA./Baldwin HS), and Leela Nepal (Pittsburgh, PA./Baldwin HS) each collected one of the three shots leading the way for PSUGA on offense.
Bucsok continued his strong play in net from last season picking up 11 saves on the day while allowing three goals. After being pressured a lot in the first half, his defense picked him up in the second half giving him better looks on the ball and allowing him to be able to make some big saves late in the game.
Even though the score did not go in PSUGA’s favor, second-year head coach Dale Odim was encouraged by his players efforts. Facing a very good Pitt Greensburg team, their defense stepped up and played a big game helping to keep it close throughout. After a historic year in 2017, Odim is hoping to lead his team back to the success that they saw just a season ago.
Odim and his team will get back to practice over the next week and a half as they get set for their season opener on September 9th when they take on Westmoreland County Community College right back at the McClure Intermediate School at 2 p.m.