Warriors use fast start to advance in playoffs

Last season was not the season Lycoming College men’s soccer coach Nate Gibboney wanted. Nor was it the season he expected. Fresh off a third straight MAC Commonwealth Championship appearance and their second MAC Commonwealth title in three seasons, the Warriors were poised for and with all 11 starters returning, expecting another historic season.

But somewhere, something went wrong. Ranked in various national polls and picked to win the conference title in the preseason, the Warriors slumped to a 9-6-4 record and on the last day of the season, missed out on the playoffs.

But this season, consider these Warriors the redeem team and that redemption can come full circle on Saturday in the MAC Commonwealth Championship.

Lycoming scored four first-half goals and dominated the opening 45 minutes as the Warriors jumped out to a large lead and never looked back as they defeated Lebanon Valley, 5-1, on Wednesday in the MAC Commonwealth Championship semifinals at the Shangraw Athletic Complex.

Lycoming (17-2), the 12th ranked team in the nation, advances to the MAC Commonwealth Championship for the fourth time in five years where they will head to Messiah to take on the third-ranked team in the nation on Saturday at a time to be determined.

“Last year was a struggle for us in a lot of games and we certainly wanted to show to everyone that we were better than the team that was out there last season. We have nine really good seniors that especially wanted to make this a special season so they’ve kind of led the charge all year and played with that chip on their shoulder all season long,” Gibboney said. “Especially today, they all stepped up and they played great. Some started, some came off the bench and just were fantastic for all 90 minutes.”

“We had a rough season last year so we proved that we again can be in the rankings,” added Sainclair Tueno, an all-conference first team selection. “We’ve had a good run so far.”

The Warriors played some of their best soccer all season in the opening 45 minutes as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Tueno, a defensive center back, scored his team-leading ninth goal in the seventh minute when Jordan Logan, another first team all-conference selection, found Tueno in the 6-yard box for the 1-0 lead. Logan, who played one of his best games of the season, added another assist in the 16th minute on the next goal when he found Abdullahi Abdi, a four-time all-conference selection, standing alone just inside the 18-yard box. Abdi then fired a rocket into the upper corner of the net for the 2-0 advantage.

Kyle Stettenbauer added his third goal of the season in the 20th minute when he fired in a deflected ball and Daniel Anwanwan finished off the scoring in the first half in the 41st minute off a nice assist from Alex Henry.

Duc Momo added the Warriors fifth goal in the 61st minute off a corner kick from Mateo Velasquez.

“Guys were really fired up. We came out with a lot of energy and excitement. It’s the playoff season,” Gibboney said. “They’ve been looking forward to this game since the end of last year and it’s been one of their goals all season. For them to get here, we knew they’d be excited and they certainly showed that. The first 45 minutes was as well as we played all season. I give the guys credit for stepping up in that situation.”

MEN’S SOCCER

Lycoming 5,

Lebanon Valley 1

(MAC COMMONWEALTH SEMIFINALS)

Lebanon Valley 0 1 — 1

Lycoming 4 1 — 5

Lyco–Sainclair Tueno (Jordan Logan, Kyle Thomas), 6:23. Lyco–Abdullahi Abdi (Logan), 15:20. Lyco–Kyle Stettenbauer, 19:29. Lyco–Daniel Anwanwan (Alex Henry), 40:24. LVC–Rob Hanosek (Tyler Skye), 58:18. Lyco–Duc Momo (Mateo Velasquez), 60:01.

Shots: LVC 14, Lyco 15. Saves: LVC 4 (Cam Avery 4), Lyco 3 (Chris Solecki 3).

Records: Lycoming (17-2, 7-1 MAC).

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