With under 23 minutes to play, Cameron Olsen’s shot ricocheted loudly off the crossbar above the head of Hiram’s goalkeeper. And while it didn’t go in, the pipe-rattling miss did seem to wake up the rest of the Allegheny men’s soccer team while putting the visiting Terriers on edge.
The rest of the contest was spent primarily in Hiram’s end of the field. And Allegheny senior Andrew Miller made the most of the situation, breaking a 1-1 tie with a goal in the 73rd minute to help the Gators claim a key North Coast Athletic Conference battle against the Terriers 2-1 on Wednesday at Frank B. Fuhrer Field.
“It was wicked how we just flipped the switch after something like that,” Gators goalkeeper John Lichina said about Olsen’s gong. “Everybody just started running forward, making good runs, getting to the ball, and putting (Hiram) on their back foot. And we found a goal.”
The win puts Allegheny at 7-3-3 on the season and 2-1-1 in the NCAC as they head to Delaware, Ohio to take on Ohio Wesleyan, the No. 1-ranked Division III team in the nation, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Hiram, meanwhile, fell to 4-10-1 on the season and 1-4-0. But that record may be misleading. The Terriers played tough last night.
“No, it wasn’t (easy),” said Miller. “In our conference we have two top 10 teams (in the region). Every single game is a battle. Every single game is a grind. So we’re extremely happy, especially against a team like Hiram, to get three points.”
Hiram put the pressure on early, putting four shots on goal in the first half before Allegheny’s offense could put one on target.
Fortunately for AC, Lichina was having a day, stopping four shots in the opening half and seven for the match.
“Definitely,” said Allegheny head coach Angelo Panzetta. “Johnny’s been on the last couple of games. He made some really key stops against Wabash to keep it at 1-1 in our last road game. ... He’s been doing it for four years at our place and we feel fortunate having him in goal.”
However Lichina couldn’t stop a crowded rush by the Terriers in the 18th minute. Hiram’s Jake Pastore had the ball deep to the right of the goal. He angled it toward the center of the box, finding teammate Ryan Kramarz, who blasted the ball into the net from point blank range.
“We knew they were going to get numbers deep if they had attacks late,” said Lichina. “They swung the ball in. One of their guys finds it between three of our guys at the far post and smashed it in the goal. It’s a shame I couldn’t get a better hand to it.”
It took a while for Allegheny to recover. But with under a minute to play in the first half, the Gators got a golden opportunity on a deep throw-in by Liam McNamee.
McNamee’s toss caused all kinds of trouble in front of Hiram’s net, pinballing around until Daniel Szekely got a hold of it and slung it past Terriers keeper Chris Minite, knotting the score with 20.4 seconds left until the break.
“Liam, one of my freshman, has a great throw-in that’s been dangerous all season,” said Panzetta. “We’ve got some guys that can get up and get after it. You know, any of those balls that we land in there it’s desire to get there. And Dan’s first step was great. He jumped on it and finished quick.”
Neither team seemed to be able to take hold of the momentum to start the second half. Scoring chances were few and far between for both squads.
But right at the halfway point, Olsen fired a laser at the Hiram goal, which sounded the wake-up alarm for the Gators.
Under five minutes later, Allegheny had a crew in Hiram’s penalty box. Brian Graham fired a shot. It bounced hard off the left post and ended up at the feet of Miller, who collected possession, then kicked it into the right corner as Minite slid the other way — 2-1 Gators.
“Luckily I was there to follow up,” said Miller. The goal was his first of the season.
BOYS BASKETBALL: East outlasts MASH to reach final
Unfortunately, Mark McElhinny’s biggest fear entering his debut as Meadville’s head basketball coach surfaced:
The Bulldogs’ youth factor came into play — at the worst time, in the fourth quarter.
Committing eight turnovers and showing fatique signs in the final period, the youth-laden Bulldogs were outscored 22-17 as Erie East spoiled McElihinny’s first game on the MASH bench with a 65-60 win in the opening round of the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament on Friday night at the House of Thrills.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Falcons move into title game
A youth-laden Conneaut boys basketball team had a well-seasoned Central Tech squad right within striking distance after one half. But the Falcons spread their wings in half No. 2 to claim a 56-34 victory over the Eagles during Friday night’s action at the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament at Meadville High School’s House of Thrills.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Slow start dooms Lady Bulldogs
It seems that the Meadville girls basketball team needed a couple quarters to get into the groove for the 2013-14 season.
In the second half of Friday night’s game at the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament at Meadville High School, the Lady Bulldogs actually beat Central Tech 21-14.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Seneca too tough for Panthers
There was no wading into the pool for the sophomore-stocked Saegertown girls basketball team.
The young Lady Panthers opened the season against a bigger, more experienced opponent. And it showed on the scoreboard, as Seneca downed the Panthers 59-35 in the opening game of the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament on Friday at Meadville High School’s House of Thrills.
COLLEGE WRESTLING: Fighting Scots just miss out on upset of Iowa
It was nearly 50 minutes prior to the start of the Edinboro versus Iowa NCAA Division I wrestling match on Thursday night and the stands at McComb Fieldhouse were already nearly full.
That crowd, however, later announced at a whopping 3,152, was relatively quiet in the early going. Then Edinboro All-American A.J. Schopp took the mat. Just two minutes in that crowd turned deafening.
NBA: Irving, Cavaliers snap Nuggets' win streak 98-88
Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped the Denver Nuggets’ seven-game winning streak with a 98-88 victory Wednesday night.
NHL: Crosby ties it in 3rd, wins it in OT for Pens
Sidney Crosby scored the tying goal in the third period and then won it with a brilliant individual effort 3:44 into overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Tuesday night.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No rest for Buckeyes, who face another must-win game
There was a time when Ohio State players could look forward to a break after trading bruises with archrival Michigan.
Not anymore. At least, not this year.
LOCAL ATHLETES: Pair of locals lead Behrend in the pool
A pair of Penn State Behrend freshmen were in action Nov. 26, as Meadville graduate Holcy Furlong and General McLane grad Lloyd Koester each took part in four events for the swimming and diving team against Gannon.
Bryant’s overtime field goal lifts Falcons over Bills
The Falcons made the Bills unravel in Buffalo’s home away from home.
Atlanta took advantage of two fumbles to pull out a 34-31 win on Matt Bryant’s 36-yard field goal 3 minutes into overtime in Buffalo’s annual home game at Toronto on Sunday.
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