In another display of what has developed into a powerful Shawnee State offensive attack, the Bears used the special scoring efforts of Kevin de Lange, along with the play of fellow Dutchmen in Mark de Graaf and Thomas de Graauw, en route to collecting its second consecutive victory and its fifth win in six contests with a 3-0 defeat of Lourdes on Monday evening on the Shawnee Turf in Portsmouth.
The Bears, who outshot the Gray Wolves by a 15-14 margin and held a 9-7 edge in shots on goal for the contest, also collected a slight edge on corner kicks by amassing six opportunities to Lourdes’ four. Shawnee State also committed just four fouls to 10 for Lourdes.
From the ninth through 27th minute of action Shawnee State’s possession, as it was in last week’s contest against West Virginia Tech, was strong from the outset. In fact, the Bears controlled the proceedings to the point where the ball was played almost exclusively on its end over the first 25 minutes of the bout.
After getting two big saves from Corbin Betz in goal — the former of which being an eighth minute save that Betz leaped high to deflect above the net — SSU gained momentum quickly and ultimately struck in the 11th minute as de Graauw, who aggressively attacked on the far side of the field, launched a strong over-the-top pass to de Lange, who finished nicely with a side-to-side finish that found back netting as the sophomore’s eighth goal of 2019 put the Bears in front by a 1-0 margin in the 11th minute of action.
Following two additional shots that missed by the Bears — and a shot that went high by Olawole Ogunsanya — Shawnee State regrouped in the 27th minute as a well-placed corner kick found the head of de Graaf in the middle of the penalty box, with the latter redirecting the ball toward the left half of the net en route to a 27th minute goal that gave Shawnee State a 2-0 advantage. Both defenses shut the respective offensive attacks down over the remainder of the half, with Shawnee State only attempting one shot, but holding Lourdes out of the scoreboard at the same token as Betz made a pair of saves while Bryce Romanello blocked a Gray Wolf attempt by Ogunsanya en route to holding its advantage at halftime.
In the second half of competition, Lourdes put together more consistent attacks, and as a result, pressurized the Shawnee State defense into mistakes. However, on each occasion, Betz was there to make the stops need to keep the lead for the Bears. During his first home start for the Bears in goal in 2019, Betz made three of his seven official saves over a three-and-a-half minute period — from the 56:57 mark of the second half to the 60:35 frame of the second half — en route to maintaining a clean sheet and amassing a career-high in stops.
The sophomore’s work in goal also proved to be huge for the SSU offense, who answered in a strong manner in transition following a failed Lourdes attack in the 64th frame. With a full head of steam and clear turf in front of him, Joao Toledo’s speed allowed the Brazilian to find de Graauw on an excellent touch pass that resulted in a goal for the latter as Shawnee State pushed its lead to 3-0 in the 65th minute of action. From that point forward, both teams put together excellent runs but couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities to score, as both teams combined to record just five official shots and one on goal over the final 25 minutes of play, leading to Shawnee State sealing up the 3-0 victory.
In the win, de Lange led the way again with a goal and an assist. The sophomore posted four shots and put two of his blasts on frame. Thomas de Graauw also added a goal and an assist each while putting two of his three shots on the mark for SSU, while de Graaf’s goal, a shot on goal from Mitchell Patchett, two shots on goal in three total shots from Bruno Rovares, and two shots, including one on frame from Eli Maurer, led the Bears offensively.
With the victory, Shawnee State improved to 5-3 overall ahead of a Wednesday evening bout against Asbury. That contest, which will also be played at Shawnee Turf, will be held under the lights with a 7 p.m. scheduled start time.
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