Men’s Soccer Faces GA With Berth In PSUAC Title Game On The Line

Rajbir Lohat
Rajbir Lohat

MEDIA, Pa. -- No. 1 Penn State Brandywine looks to make its third-straight trip to the Penn State University Athletic Conference Men's Soccer Championship next week, needing a victory over No. 4 Penn State Greater Allegheny on Saturday to reach the title round. Saturday's matchup will be played on Penncrest High School's turf field at 2:00 PM due to the rain expected to hit the area this weekend.

Brandywine enters the match as the hottest team in the PSUAC, having won 11-straight games to end the regular season. Nine of those games came against conference opponents as Brandywine finished unbeaten in the league for the third-straight year, while extending its conference winning streak to 35 consecutive games dating back to 2015.

"The postseason is here, but for us, nothing changes. We've been locked in all year with the same mentality each game," said Head Coach Jesse Zafiratos.

The Lions owned the conference's top offense and defense after the regular season. On the defensive side, Brandywine allowed just one goal in nine conference matches, posting eight shutouts. Goalkeeper Brandon Welden enters Saturday with a consecutive shutout streak of 301 minutes. Overall this fall, Brandywine posted a goals-against average of 0.75, the top mark in the league.

Offensively, Brandywine averaged nearly nine goals per outing in conference matches, scoring 70 times in eight games. Daniel Willie leads four Lions who rank among the conference's top 10 in scoring with 38 points (17G, 4A), while Brandon Crochunis and Joey Cairy top the league with nine assists and eight assists, respectively. Mohamed Camara ranks second on the team in scoring with 14 goals and six assists.

Willie and Ronaldo Calle both scored twice and added an assist when Brandywine defeated Greater Allegheny 7-0 on the road earlier this season. Brandywine put 30 shots on goal and recorded 40 shots overall during that match, while limiting GA to six shot attempts.

Brandywine has never lost to Greater Allegheny in nine all-time meetings, owning an 8-0-1 mark; however, the last time the teams faced off in the postseason, GA upset Brandywine in the PSUAC semifinals in penalty kicks after scoring late in regulation to tie the game.

"We understand it's one and done. Our guys know they need to be sharp and efficient in order for us to have continued success. The team's goal at the beginning of the season was to win a national championship so taking care of business this weekend is the first step," added Zafiratos.

A victory Saturday would send Brandywine back to the championship, where it will look to claim its fifth PSUAC crown in the last six years. Since the program began in 1973, Brandywine has won seven conference titles.

Saturday's other semifinal will have No. 3 New Kensington traveling to Monaca, Pa., to face No. 2 Beaver. The semifinal winners will face each other Wednesday at 4:00 PM in State College.