In front of packed bleachers under sunny skies, the Franciscan University men’s soccer team excited in a 3-0 thriller of a win over conference opponent Pitt.-Bradford, one of the highlights of the university’s Homecoming Weekend.
The game also marked Senior Day for the team, as the squad, together with Head Coach Christian Bobak, celebrated each of their eight graduating players.
The game was deadlocked early, as the ball rarely penetrated deep into the backfield of either team. That trend changed in minute 28, after a Bradford infraction gave the Barons a free kick, just past midfield. Junior midfielder Leo James sent a high assist into the box, where sophomore defender Ian Baldau continued his stellar season, redirecting the ball off his head past the Pitt.-Bradford goalkeeper’s outstretched fingertips.
The barrage of Franciscan shots on goal continued as the first half continued. Sophomore midfielder Kyle Hames sent a shot off the post; just eleven seconds later, Baldau’s shot was saved by the Panthers’ keeper.
Senior goalkeeper Thomas Dosedel made his mark on the game early and often, registering four saves in goal, including a stunning save during minute 33. The horn sounded with a 1-0 Barons lead, in a first half characterized by tight defensive play, anchored by senior defenders Dominic Vander Woude and Patrick Canavan.
Franciscan wasted no time in adding to their lead in the second half; less than three minutes in, the Barons were granted a free kick, one Hermann rocketed off the crossbar and into the goal, effectively adding to Franciscan’s lead. Six minutes later, it was Hermann again: Vander Woude drew a foul while inside the Panthers’ penalty box, leaving Hermann to hammer the subsequent penalty kick home, putting the Barons up 3-0.
Dosedel would register another save in the 80th minute, and it would be enough down the stretch to put the Panthers away. The win was a record-breaking one for Franciscan: the team set both the single-season point and goal record, in five fewer games than the previous Barons squad. With the victory, Head Coach Christian Bobak was also named the winningest coach in program history.
The Barons next take to the upper soccer field on October 18, with a 2 p.m. conference matchup with Penn St.-Altoona.