Men’s soccer “Light” up Juniata for first-ever Landmark conference win

Nick Loschiavo October 1, 2014 0

The Elizabethtown College men’s soccer team beat Alvernia University 1-0 Wednesday night with a timely goal by senior Andrew Sandridge. Sandridge’s heroics changed the pace of the game, as it was the first and only goal of the game.
Senior goalkeeper Justin Signora played a key role in keeping the game tied for so long at 0-0. Signora had a slow first half as only five shots were taken in the game, with only two on goal. The second half of the game changed dramatically with 19 shots taken. Both Signora and Alvernia goalkeeper Zach Rider blocked several shots for the first four minutes of the half.
Sandridge’s offensive pressure paid off when in the 68th minute of the game, senior David Boretti got the ball into the center of the box from the right wing. Sandridge saw an opportunity and weaved in between players and then deposited the ball into the net for his second goal of the season. When asked if he felt like a hero of the game Sandridge said, “I didn’t feel like I was the hero of the game. I would say that our defense was the hero of the game. They kept us in the game all night. Our offense didn’t play particularly well, but the defense kept bailing us out. I was just lucky to be in the right spot at the right time, and I was able to make a play for our team. Our defense and Justin were the heroes.”
Signora believed in the Etown defense. “I came out in the second half with the mindset that we were still very much alive in the game. Our veteran defense of senior Dave Boretti and juniors Jack Rudy, Martin Fevre and Shane Votto played very well in the first half, so I knew that as long as we all kept doing our jobs, we could keep the team in the game. They came at us hard early with everything they had and once we held off that storm I knew we had a good chance to win,” he said.
The game was the seventh straight game decided by one goal or less between the schools. Dating back to 2008, Etown is 5-1-1 in those games decided by one goal or less. This included a 1-1 draw last year in the Commonwealth Conference semifinals, where Etown won in a penalty kick shootout.
Signora felt that this win gave the team momentum looking ahead to the game against Juniata. “This game was a huge confidence boost heading into a big weekend game against Juniata. They are a solid team, and we have to come out strong in this big conference matchup,” he said.
Sandridge felt the team was fully supported by its defense. “We were very confident and composed going into the game but I’d be lying if I said that lasted long. Alvernia was all over us in the first half. They were dominating the game. We played well defensively and kept ourselves in the game,” he said. “Our defense held strong and we were able to capitalize on an opportunity. We proved that we are willing to fight for each other and never give up. It was a good team win.”
This game was indeed a big confidence booster for Signora as he stopped four shots in the game for his first shutout of the season. Signora’s goals-against average fell to 1.22 with his four blocked shots.
On Saturday, the Blue Jays took down Juniata 5-0 for their first Landmark Conference victory. The star of the game was sophomore Jeff Light who put together a seven-point night, including a natural hat-trick.
Light entered the night with only one point in twenty-one career games, but ended with the highest single game point total posted by a Blue Jay in the last eleven years. The other stars of the game included Fevre and seniors Dylan Sisler and Kyle Fowler.
Etown dominated the game early on with Sisler striking first with a hit to the crossbar at the 12:51 mark. Fevre followed 32 seconds later with a goal set up by Fowler’s corner kick to secure the lead.
In the 36th minute, Etown extended its lead with sophomore Ian Harrigan scoring his first career goal. Harrigan managed to do this with a cross from Light, which helped Etown carry their lead into the second half. Meanwhile, Juniata only secured one shot in the first half, making an easy night for Signora.
Juniata’s Aaron Kulig pressed back when he fired a shot from the 18-yard box, bending to the far left post. Signora got his fingertips on the ball to deflect it away from the goal. The ball landed by the post but Etown cleared it before Juniata could recover possession of the ball.
In the 69th minute, Light re-entered the game and continued his career night. The Blue Jays were still up by two goals, and only three minutes after returning to the game, he sprinted to the center of the field to receive a cross from Sandridge and scored his first career goal. During the 74th minute of the game, Light again went for a goal but failed to make it. He followed the shot and delivered it past Juniata keeper Garrett Lavelle for his second goal of the night. Light did not stop there as he secured his hat trick in the 82nd minute of the game. The shot came from the middle of the six-yard box, and gave the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead.
Etown witnessed the last seven-point game on Sept. 7, 2003 when Brian Healy accomplished the feat against Scranton University. Etown won 8-0 that day with Healy scoring a pair of goals and assisting on three more. In comparison, Light scored his three goals in the span of 9:26.
Signora had another big game as he obtained his fourth win of the season, by making one save. Junior Rodrigo Barrera came into the game and made one save in the final 29:07 of the night.
The annual Marshmallow Bowl ended on Tuesday night in the 58th minute after a thunderstorm delayed the game over an hour.
NCAA rules state the game is called a “no contest” and all statistics will not count. Messiah and Etown decided not to make up the game. The Blue Jays will travel to Moravian on Saturday for their third conference game of the season.

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