|Jon Roberts||Justin Hammert|
HUNTINGDON, Pa. – The University of Scranton men's soccer team (11-4-2, 6-1 Landmark) jumped out to a 2-0 lead and held on for a 2-1 win over the Juniata Eagles (7-10, 1-6 Landmark) on Saturday afternoon at Gibbel Stadium in Huntingdon.
The Royals clinched the No. 2 seed in the Landmark Conference Tournament with the win and will host No. 3 seed Elizabethtown in the semifinals on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at Weiss Field at 7 p.m.
Scranton had a handful of chances in the early going and a shot from senior Riley Smith (New Hope, Pa./New Hope Solebury) in the 18th minute was turned away by Juniata goalie Andrew Yelch. In the 26th minute, senior Justin Hammert (Archbald, Pa./Scranton Prep) slid a pass to classmate Jon Roberts (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Immaculata-Somerville) at the edge of the box and Roberts was able to beat Yelch with his team-leading seventh goal of the season to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. Head coach Matt Pivirotto's squad had a series of chances in the final minutes of the first half, but the game remained 1-0 for the time being. The Royals held a 15-3 shot advantage in the first half.
The Royals continued to mount a strong attack in the early stages of the second half and extended the lead in the 60th minute as Hammert got behind the defense and his initial shot was turned away by Yelch, but the Archbald, Pa., native buried the rebound to stretch it to 2-0. The goal was Hammert's second of the season. Juniata cut the lead in half in the 64th minute on a penalty kick goal from Bass Diakhoumpa. Scranton put together a strong defensive effort and held the Eagles without a shot over the final 25 minutes of the contest.
On the afternoon, the Royals held a 26-5 advantage in shots led by six shots from Roberts and five from Hammert. Sophomore Jake Hodlofski (West Chester, Pa./Malvern Prep) and senior Blake Hammert (Archbald, Pa./Scranton Prep) each played 45 minutes in net to combine on the win for Scranton.