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Soccer News

Roberts Wesleyan narrowly edges Point Park for AMC championship, 1-0

Nov. 5, 2011

The Point Park defense battles against RWC's Donovan Wilson. Photo by Richard Finch.



SOUTH PARK, Pa. -- The Point Park University men's soccer team lost to Roberts Wesleyan College, 1-0, in a hard-fought American Mideast Conference Men's Soccer Championship Game Saturday afternoon at the Century United Complex.

Roberts Wesleyan (10-9-1) got a goal in the 23rd minute by Donovan Wilson and its defense made it stand up. As the American Mideast Conference champions, the Raiders advance to the Unaffiliated Conference championship game Nov. 12 at neutral site Walsh (4 p.m.). There, Roberts will play for a spot in the NAIA national tournament.

Point Park (12-5-1) had perhaps the most successful season in school history come to an end just shy of bringing home a conference title. The Pioneers tied the 1998 team that was 12-5 for the most victories in a season. They also made the AMC playoffs for the first time and played for the AMC championship for the first time in history.

The Pioneers had been getting votes in the NAIA Top 25 Poll in recent weeks, but they dropped out of the ratings completely in this week's poll. Had they challenged for the Top 25, they would have been within reach of a possible at-large bid to nationals, but that is unlikely now.

Saturday's matchup with Roberts Wesleyan was the third of the season, and the Raiders won the last two. Point Park had won at Roberts, 3-0, Oct. 15. But the Raiders won at Point Park, 2-0, on Oct. 28 and 1-0 on Saturday.

In each matchup between the two teams, the team that got on the board first eventually won by a shutout. Saturday it was Roberts Wesleyan that cracked through with the game's only goal in the 23rd minute.

Most of Point Park's best chances came early on with the score 0-0 and late in the game when it put an extra forward on the field to try and push for the tying goal. But after the 1-0 lead was built by Roberts, it relied on its defense, which is bigger and taller than the Point Park attackers.

The Raiders used that size to their advantage to get their goal. A Point Park foul gave the Raiders a free kick about 45 yards out. Derek Holmes played the attempt to a very tall Hayden Hobeke, who won the ball over to teammate Andrew Vanderhoof.

The ball settled down on the artificial turf carpet long enough for Donovan Wilson to get a good strike at it, and he buried the winning goal in the top right corner.

From there, it became a game in which Point Park was relegated to playing long balls ahead to its forwards even though its strength is to play the ball on the ground. 

Roberts held a 10-7 advantage in shots. The Raiders had 21 fouls compared to 13 for Point Park. Point Park had three of its shots register on goal. One of those was a good chance late by Matt Annecchiarico. But it was stopped by Eric Read, who got the shutout as the Roberts keeper.

Point Park keeper Mitchell Kelman made five saves in 90 minutes.