Laylani

Meadville’s Ali Laylani (left) controls the ball during a Region 5 showdown with Erie at Bender Field on Tuesday. Laylani had one of the few scoring chances against Erie, but it was knocked aside as the Royals beat the Bulldogs 4-0.

Frustration proved to be Meadville’s biggest enemy on Tuesday night. And it was put on full display with 20:31 left in the second half.

Meadville Bulldogs defender Jordan Unger, in an attempt to halt Erie’s attack, knocked down Abdi Ahmed in the box. The play resulted in an unfortunate double whammy — Unger was handed a red card and Ahmed was rewarded a penalty. Ahmed’s kick was true and Erie led 4-0.

“Keeping our cool is number one,” said Meadville head coach Nate Bahurinsky. “I feel as though our frustration level took over and we quit playing the ball and quit playing soccer and played the man. And it got us in trouble.”

Erie went on to beat Meadville 4-0 during Regon 6 boys soccer play at Bender Field.

Erie improved to 4-0 and 1-0 in region play. Meadville moves to 2-2 and 0-1 in region.

Meadville opened the game up on the front foot driving forward. In the third minute, Ali Laylani’s shot went toward the far post, but Erie goalkeeper Stephen Scheppner touched it wide. For the first eight minutes, the Bulldogs pressed forward, but managed only the one great chance.

From there, Erie maintained the midfield and the possession for the first half. The Royals unleashed shot after shot, but kept launching the ball left, high or right of Meadville goalkeeper Mark Conrad. The Royals attempted 21 shots in the first 40 minutes with just six on target. 

The Royals broke through when Ahmed quickly reacted to a rebound off Conrad. He tucked the ball in low with his left foot for the opening goal with 12:28 remaining in the first half.

“We came out fairly decent, but as soon as they scored we were down,” said Bahurinsky.

Meadville bounced back and had an opportunity on the edge of the box. However, a free kick was blocked by the Erie wall. Two more Bulldogs shots were rejected before the halftime whistle blew.

Erie increased its lead just over three minutes into the second half. After Conrad was bumped by an Erie forward, Ajay Rai tapped the loose ball into the open net for the 2-0 lead.

Prem Panday tacked on another goal 10 minutes later by touching home a cross on the far post. 

After Ahmed’s penalty kick goal, the Royals improved their early season goal differential to a flawless 22-0.

“I’m not disappointed with the way we played today. I think our defense played very well,” said Bahurinsky. “(Erie’s) a very talented team.”

Offensively, the Bulldogs were limited to just three shots on goal during the contest, a problem that arose from lack of possession in the midfield.

“They just controlled midfield so well, we just couldn’t get a break,” Bahurinsky said. “Once they got the ball and started possessing it down there, we just couldn’t get it back.”

For Meadville, Conrad wound up with eight saves on a busy night.

The Bulldogs need to recover fast as a Thursday matchup at Slippery Rock looms.

“We’re going to talk about this, we’re going to get over it,” Bahurinsky added. “We’re going to go Thursday and try our best.”

 

Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at jhansgen@meadvilletribune.com

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