Postseason run for Transylvania men’s soccer ends at Rose-Hulman in HCAC Semifinals on penalty kick

Shkraba action

Terre Haute, Ind. – The Transylvania men's soccer team's postseason drive was halted by the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin' Engineers, falling 2-1 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals on Wednesday night at the Rose-Hulman Intramural Fields.

With the match deadlocked at 1-1 into the second half, the Engineers earned a penalty kick in the 65th minute of the match and converted a go-ahead goal to dash the Pioneers' hopes and move on into the HCAC Tournament Semifinal.

Transylvania's 2019 season comes to a close with a record of 10-8 and 7-2 in HCAC regular season play while Rose-Hulman vaulted to 16-3 on the year.

Facing each other for the second time in five days at the same location, the Pioneers and Engineers engaged for another 90 minutes of battle with heightened stakes. After last Saturday's matchup went over the first 70 minutes without a goal and last year's two matchups went over 180 minutes of play without a score, the goals came rapidly and evenly in Wednesday evening's latest clash between the two teams.

Rose-Hulman scored in the fourth minute on a corner kick for an early 1-0 lead to seize momentum for the host team. Transylvania continued to win balls and gained its fair share of possession with quick bursts upfield.  

The quick pushes paid off when the Pioneers responded in the 18th minute as Caswell Fuller played a ball ahead to Alex Shkraba, who darted past a pair of defenders and found the corner of the net from the left side, tying the match up at 1-1.

Offensive chances cooled off for the rest of the half beside one pivotal moment against the Pioneers. The Engineers lined up a heavy-booted ball in the 28th minute which was punched high and out of play by Pioneer goalie Drew Grisham, who kept the game even at 1-1. The Pioneers tried to counter three minutes before the half on a shot by Alec Coomes, but Rose-Hulman's goalkeeper Pascal Schlee was able to make the save.

Scoring opportunities were nearly nonexistent in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Rose-Hulman's best efforts to encroach upon the penalty area were headed away by the Transy backline while the Engineers did the same to Transy's counterattack.

The game-changing moment came in the 64th minute as the Engineers again gained entry inside the left edge of the penalty area. After a Pioneer defender and Engineer became entangled, a penalty kick was awarded to the Engineers. Rose-Hulman's Eric Kirby slotted the game-winner into the left corner of the goal for a 2-1 advantage.

Rose-Hulman outshot the Pioneers 10-6 on the evening with Grisham recording two saves for the Pioneers and Schlee gaining one for the Engineers.

The evening marked the final career games for six seniors who were a part of two HCAC Tournament Championships during their careers and two NCAA Tournament berths: Shkraba, Grisham, Charlie Wend, Caswell Fuller, Drew Angel, and Will Campbell.

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