The Penn State Brandywine men's soccer team made school history on Wednesday, Oct. 29, as it battled to a hard-fought victory over Penn State York in the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) Men's Soccer Championship. This marks just the second time a Brandywine sports team has ever won back-to-back conference titles.
Played at University Park on a chilly October night, the contest was a thriller from start to finish with a close final score of 1-0. Junior Nabieu Sesay scored the game's only goal in the 43rd minute. After York's goalkeeper blocked an attempt by senior Frenc Baro, Sesay swiftly secured the rebound and drove the ball into the back of the net. Brandywine outshot York 7-4.
"To come back this year as the defending champs, there was an obvious target on our back," explained senior team captain Brad Jule. "We wanted that. We thrived off of that. It led us to beating a D-III team, our undefeated conference season and our second title. The core group we have been able to hold on to these past two years has driven this team. I will never forget the times being on the championship teams here at Penn State Brandywine."
Freshman goalkeeper Patrick O'Neill rose to the occasion, stepping in for injured senior goalkeeper Nick Previti who was having a solid season but unfortunately broke his arm during the squad's final regular-season game. O'Neill made several clutch saves in the semifinals versus Penn State Beaver and posted the team's first shutout of the year during the championship match, just when Brandywine needed it most.
In just his second year as head coach, Scott Spangler has led his team to a 24-12 record, two PSUAC Championship titles and two national competition appearances. Before soccer's PSUAC Championship victory in 2013, Brandywine soccer had not won a conference title since 1989.
"Scott Spangler is a talented young coach with a wealth of soccer knowledge to impart to his players," said Athletic Director Jim Gastner. "His ability to teach the young men that play for him sets him apart. His demeanor is always professional and his calm coaching style helps his student-athletes keep their focus on the game."The Brandywine squad moved on to represent the PSUAC at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Championships, which began on Wednesday, Nov. 5, in Charleston, W. Va. Brandywine took on the University of Maine at Machias, scraping their way through two, 10-minute overtimes. The University of Maine at Machias scored with three minutes left in the second overtime to knock Brandywine out of contention.