Gannon University’s men’s soccer team is getting ready to host its first game in the play-offs against Slippery Rock University at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
The team, which fell out of the national rankings Tuesday and is third in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference with a 6-3 record, lost to Mercyhurst University 4-2 Saturday.
The Knights had previously fallen to the PSAC’s Slippery Rock 2-1 on Oct. 24. The Rock sits in sixth place in the conference standings.
Despite their losses, the Knights secured their place in the upcoming Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). The conference tournament final four will take place Saturday and Sunday at Mercyhurst.
Defender Jonathan Simmons said the team had a good opportunity coming up in the PSAC tournament to end the season on a strong note and build toward next year.
“I am very optimistic with our chances,” Simmons said. “I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t play well and not play to our potential to compete on the national level.”
The Knights’ coach, Rob van Rheenen, said that the team’s strongest asset was cohesiveness, which he hoped would show in the team’s upcoming games.
“Playoffs are always unpredictable, any team can beat another team any day,” van Rheenen said. “Sometimes it is that little bit of luck you need but it will always take a team effort.
“We need to find a way to win our next games.”
Senior midfielder Tyler Hollingsworth said he was very proud of the team’s performance this season and looking forward to its next games.
“I think we’re the best team in the PSAC but it’s just mental,” Hollingsworth said. “I don’t see why we should lose.”