Pittsburgh, PA -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Men's Soccer team lost a close game to LaRoche University by a score of 3-2, but were still able to clinch a spot in the AMCC Playoffs due to other results around the conference.
Things got off to a good start for the Panthers as they were able to open the scoring in the 11th minute. Spencer Sklar drew a LaRoche foul just outside the 18 yard box after being sent down the right flank by Thomas Kelly. On the resulting free kick from TJ Magro, Kelly flicked a header into the far corner to put the Panthers in front. It was Kelly's 8th goal of the season. Pitt-Bradford took four of the next 6 shots on goal, but were unable to take advantage of their opportunities. The missed chances would come back to hurt the Panthers as the Redhawks were able to score two goals within a 3 minute span to take a 2-1 halftime lead.
Both teams exchanged opportunities throughout the early part of the the second half, with the Panthers coming away with the best scoring chance. In the 73rd minute, Michael Giopulos won a header on a corner kick and sent it towards the far post, only to see his effort cleared off the line by a LaRoche defender. The Redhawks responded quickly to the defensive team save, as they added to their lead 3 minutes later. The Panthers pulled one back in the 86th minute, when TJ Magro unleashed a swerving effort from about 30 yards away that found the top right corner. Magro had an another opportunity to tie the game in the final minute as he ran onto a cross behind the defense, but saw his shot fly over the cross bar and out for a goal kick.
Magro, Kelly and Ugwunna Amadi all finished with 4 shots. Magro put 3 of them on frame while Kelly and Amadi had one shot on goal. Nicholas Pezo added 3 shots, 2 on goal and Scott Compson had 2 shots, both on goal. Sihle Sizani made 6 saves in the loss.
While the Panthers (9-7, 5-4 AMCC) were disappointed not to come away with a result, they recieved some help to clinch their first playoff berth since 2011. With the Franciscan 3-0 victory over D'Youville, Pitt-Bradford officially is in the playoffs. Seeding and matchup is yet to be determined with one game left to play in the regular season. The Panthers will close the regular season at home on Tuesday. They will host the top team in the AMCC, Medaille at 2:00PM on the Kessel Athletic Complex Soccer Field.