Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information
Moon Township, Pa. – Junior Claudio Dantas found the back of the net twice in his Great Dane debut to lead the University at Albany men’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over the University of Pittsburgh in the first round of the Robert Morris Invitational on Friday afternoon. Sophomore Milos Jankovic as well as seniors Don Johnson and Gaby Seguin-Gauthier were credited with assists in the victory.
“It was a great effort from all of our players in the first game,” said head coach Johan Aarnio. “We came close to having a shutout."
UAlbany (1-0) got on the scoreboard first in the 39th minute of action. Jankovic took the ball down the left side and found Dantas along the wing. With senior goalkeeper Eric Barnes charging from the net, Dantas quickly played a shot over Barnes and down into the far corner of the goal to give the Great Danes a one-goal advantage which they would take into the break. Jankovic’s helper was also his first career point.
The Great Danes doubled their lead in the opening minutes of the second stanza off a corner kick taken by sophomore Shaun Kane. The ball went to Seguin-Gauthier who passed it over to Johnson. The senior then fired a shot on goal which was saved by Barnes, but Dantas jumped on the rebound and headed the ball in from point-blank range in the 49th minute.
“Claudio is like a hawk,” added Aarnio. “He has a great eye for the goal and is very experienced in the box. Today, he came up big for us twice.”
Pittsburgh (0-1) cut the lead in half in the 83rd minute off a failed clear attempt by the UAlbany defense. The ball came directly to the foot of redshirt freshman Sam Luffy, who took a shot from about 25 yards out that deflected off a UAlbany defender and landed in the right corner of the net.
Each team had its chances to score again before the final whistle. UAlbany’s L.J. Papaleo took a shot which got past Pittsburgh senior goalkeeper Jordan Marks in the 84th minute of play, but the Panther defense recorded a team save to keep it a one-possession match. A few minutes later, Pittsburgh had a corner kick with a chance to tie it up. However, the UAlbany defense which only surrendered four shots on goal in the match was able to successfully clear the ball to help seal the victory.
UAlbany senior co-captain Steward Ceus made three saves as the Panthers took 12 shots. Barnes got the start in goal for Pittsburgh and stopped two of the three shots he faced on net. Marks relieved Barnes in the second half and recorded three saves.
The Great Danes conclude play at the Robert Morris Invitational on Sunday afternoon when they face the host Colonials. The match is slated to begin at 2:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh (0-1) 0 1 - 1
UAlbany (1-0) 1 1 - 2
UAlbany: Scoring – Claudio Dantas (2-0), Milos Jankovic (0-1), Don Johnson (0-1), Gaby Seguin-Gauthier (0-1). Goalkeeping – Steward Ceus (90:00, 1 GA, 3 saves).
Pittsburgh: Scoring – Sam Luffy (1-0). Goalkeeping – Eric Barnes (45:00, 1 GA, 2 saves), Jordan Marks (45:00, 1 GA, 3 saves).
UAlbany 2, Pittsburgh 1