The Knights found their groove in the second half against visiting Crown College. Powered by freshman Soufiane Issoufou’s three goals, the Central Penn men’s soccer team overcame a 3–2 first-half deficit to come out on top, 5–4, in a hard-fought contest at Adams Ricci Park last Friday.
“Tough first half, great second half,” said Knights Coach Dustin Wise. “I thought our second-half performance was the best half of soccer we’ve played so far this season. We had glimpses in the first half that gave me confidence we could pull out the win… just had to work together as a team,” he said.
During his halftime speech, Wise challenged his team “to be better, to work harder, to be better teammates.” His motivational words had the desired effect, resulting “in the best half of soccer we’ve played this year.”
The defense stepped up in the second half, limiting opportunities to the visitors from Tennessee. Goalkeeper Max Thorpe did a good job of communicating to Central Penn men’s soccer defenders, positioning them to cut off passing lanes.
In the first half, Kyle Vargas and Teddy Kreitz got on the scoreboard for Central Penn, with assists from Issoufou and Derek Pine, respectively. Pine and Devin Kreiss assisted Issoufou on two of his second-half goals.
CENTRAL PENN MEN’S SOCCER MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
With the win, the Knights raised their record to 2–4–1. Wise reflected on the team’s progress so far: “We have a good team here… we have talent. We lack some depth, which is obvious, and have a lot of inexperience, BUT we have a group of core individuals who when they work together and work hard, the rest of the team works to match that intensity.”
He’s optimistic about the team’s direction. “We have yet to play a full 90 minutes to our capabilities,” he said. “While it’s frustrating from a coaching standpoint, I think it’s also encouraging because it shows that the best is still yet to come.”
It doesn’t get easier for the Knights, though. On Wednesday, they travel to Clarks Summit, a NCAA D3 opponent, for a 3 p.m. game. “They’re a team that’s very similar to Wilson College who we scrimmaged to start the season,” said Wise. “I’m hoping that this will be a bit of a ‘prove it’ game for us to see how far we’ve come this season.”