Soccer team loses first round of tournament

Nate Bottiger, Staff Writer

Pitt-Johnstown’s men’s soccer team qualified for the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament two weeks ago and lost in the first round of the tournament Nov. 1.

Pitt-Johnstown had qualified for the tournament with a 3-2 win against Shepherd University (Shepherdstown, W. Va.), with a goal scored by Bryce DeLizio in double overtime.

Pitt-Johnstown played against Davis and Elkins (W.Va.) at Buckhannon (W.Va.) Upshur High School. Pitt-Johnstown lost 3-1 to the team that was ranked 22nd nationally in Division II.

Head Soccer Coach Eric Kinsey said the game was fast and intense. Kinsey said the team’s goal was to play all 90 minutes, which he said was a major downfall the last time they played Davis and Elkins College.

“It was a great soccer game, and the team played well.”

Junior Zeke Buchta said the loss was upsetting because they could have won the game, but he liked the way the team played, despite a smaller bench roster than in previous years.

“We played our hearts out, and left everything we had on the field.”

Kinsey said the season had a lot of disappointing moments, but also gave way to some bright moments as well.

Kinsey said the California University of Pennsylvania and West Virginia Wesleyan College games were bright moments for the season.

The team had beat West Virginia Wesleyan College (Buckhannon, W.Va.) by one goal, the only one of the game, scored by junior Derik Swope, in double overtime.

West Virginia Wesleyan was ranked 14th  in the Division II national rankings at the time. The team had lost a close game 1-0 earlier in the season to California University of Pennsylvania, who was ranked nationally No. 21 in Division II.

Kinsey also highlighted senior goalkeeper Mike Cuccaro, junior midfielder Marc Bucci and sophomore midfielder Steve Taslov as individual players who have excelled this season.

Cuccaro is still ranked No. 1 in the Division II national rankings in saves per game, and ranked 14th for save percentage.

Heading into next season Kinsey said the team will maintain their usual seasonal goal to qualify for the conference tournament, and also, to make consistency next season’s new goal.

“One of our downfalls this season was not playing for 90 minutes in every game.”

Kinsey said making consistency a new goal should help push the players to a solid 90 minutes, instead of playing poorly in one half and fighting to make up lost ground.