Lions Fall Short to Buccaneers in Penalty Kicks
MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Despite tallying the opening goal of the game, the Saint Leo men's soccer team (9-5-1) fell to the Barry University Buccaneers (11-2-4), 1-1 (4-1 penalty kicks), Tuesday evening from Buccaneer Field in Sunshine State Conference Tournament Quarterfinal action. The loss eliminates the Lions from postseason contention.
It was the start the Lions were looking for, as the offense peppered Buccaneers' goalie Johnny Rodrigues with six shots over the first 45 minutes. Unfortunately, the Lions could finish as they went into halftime with a dangerous Bucs' squad tied at zero.
Both teams had their chances in the second half, and while Barry dominated the shot department, 12-1, it was Saint Leo who struck first. One second into the 68th-minute, Andro Hrkac was pulled down inside the box forcing a penalty kick try. Joel Purkiss capitalized on the opportunity as he blasted his free attempt past Rodrigues. Barry did not let the lead stand for long, however, as Mark Anderson netted his 20th goal of the season in the 71st minute off a direct rebound.
The Buccaneers continued to shower McKenzie Scott (9-5-1) with shots, but eight saves proved that the sophomore was up to the challenge, forcing the match into overtime.
Barry found themselves with multiple chances over the course of both overtime sessions, but a strong defensive effort by the back four, in addition to Scott, kept the game knotted at one; extending it into a penalty kick showdown.
Penalty kicks saw Purkiss keep the Lions on pace with the home standing Buccaneers after the first round. However, a save and an unlucky cross bar strike; coupled with precision shooting by the Buccaneers, saw the Lions fall to the higher-seeded Bucs' after the fourth round of tries. The loss eliminates the Lions from the SSC Tournament and ending their season.
Overall, the Lions were outshot, 24-11, and trailed in the corner kick division, 7-1. The two teams also combined for 33 fouls.
The loss ends the Lions' season, and brings with it the end of three stellar Lions' careers in Eishun Yoshida, Andro Hrkac, and Konstantin Pyankov. For the latest news, updates, and information on the men's soccer team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.