Bradford, PA -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford men's soccer team took a late first half lead against the 24th ranked team in the country, Penn State Behrend, but were unable to hold on as they ultimately lost 4-1.
Coming off of a loss to Franciscan that resulted in three starters being ineligible for their game against the Lions, Pitt-Bradford put in a herculean team effort in the first half. They came out of the gates strong against their nationally ranked opponents, taking the first three shots of the game, including a free kick that TJ Magro was able to bend around the wall that was saved by Penn State Behrend's Matt Warnaka. Junior goalkeeper Dominick Giannini played a huge role in holding the Lions scoreless through the majority of the first half as he made three big saves on great Penn State Berend scoring opportunities.
Giannini and his defenses' hard work paid off in the 43rd minute, as the Panthers used a long throw to open the scoring. TJ Magro unleashed a long throw into the box from the left flank which was flicked further into the center of the penalty area by Thomas Kelly. Freshman Nicholas Pezo found the free ball in the box and confidently sent a shot into the net for his second goal of the season. The lead did not last long, as the Lions were awarded a penalty kick just over a minute later on a hand ball following a corner kick. Penn State Behrend was able to convert the spot kick to tie the game at 1 heading into the half time break.
The Lions came out flying in the second half as they were able to score the game winning goal just 46 seconds after the half started. With the two goals bookending halftime, the Lions took control of the game as they would outshoot the Panthers 14-2 in the second half. They added two more goals in the 53rd and 69th minutes to secure the victory.
Gianini made 6 saves in the game, as well as making numerous clerances on crosses into the box. Pezo led the Panthers offensively with 2 shots.
The loss moves Pitt-Bradford's record to 7-6 and 3-3 in AMCC play. Their next match will have major implications on their playoff standings moving forward. They will travel south to take on Penn State Altoona, who are just half a game behind the Panthers in the AMCC standings, on Saturday afternoon. Kick off is scheduled for 1:00 PM.