Pleasant Hills, PA. – Coming into play on Wednesday afternoon, the Penn State Greater Allegheny Soccer Team (8-4-2) had never won a home playoff game in their program’s history. However, they put all that in the past picking up their first home playoff win as a program with a 4-1 victory over #5 PSU-York (4-6-2) that send them to the Semifinal round of the Penn State University Athletic Conference Playoffs.
These two teams played to a 0-0 tie during the regular season and early on the defenses were playing well again in this one. It took just over 30 minutes for the first goal to be scored when PSUGA senior Belmo Nurkic (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin HS) took a crosser from Raghu Chimoriya (Pittsburgh, PA./Ellis Prep Academy) and found the back of the net giving PSUGA a 1-0 lead.
It was Nurkic once again who would give PSUGA a cushion at the end of the half. He launched a free kick from 40 yards out over the head of PSU-York’s goalkeeper finding the top left corner of the net for his second goal of the day. PSUGA would hold on to the 2-0 lead as the remaining minute ticked away and the team’s headed for the locker room.
Both defenses were back at it again in the second half as PSU-York tried to get back into the game. York got off seven shots in the first 20 minutes of the half, but Goalkeeper Colin Bucsok (Pittsburgh, PA./Thomas Jefferson HS) and the PSUGA defense kept them off the board. They would get a little cushion in the 71st minute when Prajal Sharma (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin HS) got in good position in front of the net and put a crosser from Nic Babic (White Hall, PA./Baldwin HS) into the back of the net increasing PSUGA’s lead to 3-0.
York found its way on the board just eight minutes later as Michael Ambrose scored on a Penalty Kick cutting the PSUGA lead to just two with 11 minutes to play. PSUGA would put the icing on the cake with eight minutes to go when Chris Rossi (Elizabeth, NJ./Frank J. Cicarfel Academy) scored his first goal of the day giving PSUGA a 4-1 lead that they would hold on to for the rest of the game.
Nurkic led his team on the day with two goals on eight shots, four on goal, while Sharma finished right behind him with one goal on five shots, four on goal. Babic led the way with two assists and Chimoriya added an assist of his own. Bucsok had a fine performance in net collecting seven saves on eight shots on goal in his 90 minutes in net.
The win means PSUGA moves on to the PSUAC Semifinal round where they will face #1 PSU-Brandywine on the road. PSUGA has been eager to get another matchup with Brandywine after falling 7-0 earlier in the year. They want to prove to everyone that they can compete with one of the top teams in the PSUAC as they make a push to get back to the PSUAC Championship game at University Park.
Saturday’s PSUAC Semifinal game between #4 PSUGA and #1 PSU-Brandywine will be played at Penn State Brandywine at a time still to be determined. The winner will move on to the PSUAC Championship game at University Park on Wednesday October 31st.