November 2, 2009
Bloomsburg University Men's Soccer Team in PSAC Playoffs
BLOOMSBURG-The Bloomsburg University men's soccer team will face off with Millersville on Wednesday in the semi-finals of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) playoffs. Start time is set for 6 p.m.
The Huskies, 10-5-2 overall, are making their first PSAC playoff appearance since the 2003 season and are the number two seed from the Eastern Division. Millersville, 16-1, is the top seed from the East.
Bloomsburg was picked to finish fourth in the PSAC Eastern Division in the pre-season coaches poll and coach Paul Payne used that as a bit of motivation as the team prepared for its playoff-clinching game with East Stroudsburg last week.
"I said one thing in the beginning of the season and that was the game is played on the field and not in a poll," said Payne. "Then, before our last match against East Stroudsburg, I posted the preseason picks for the team to see and walked out of the room."
Payne felt early in the season that this could be a playoff team.
"After our first West Chester match, when goalie David Leindecker (Easton/Easton) made a great save on penalty kick to keep us ahead in that match, that set the tone for the season. We have always been competitive, but lacked finishers that we now have in Tyler Phillips (Ephrata/Ephrata) and Bryce Shaffer (Gettysburg/Gettysburg), which makes a big difference."
Not using a multitude of injuries the team has had to endure as an excuse, Payne has seen his team rise to the challenge this season.
"We have not had our starting unit from our opener on the field since our second game of the year," Payne continued. "Our captain Chris Chestnut (West Lawn/Wilson) broke his foot in the third game of the year and we had multiple game injuries to key players throughout the year. Most recently the team was hit quite hard by the flu bug. Throughout all of this we kept competing and never once used any of it as an excuse."
Phillips and Shaffer, two freshmen, lead the Huskies in scoring this season. Phillips has scored 11 goals with one assist, while Shaffer has scored four times and assisted on six others. In addition, Eric Simonds (Sassmansville/Boyertown) has three goals and two assists, while Marcus Valeriano (Oley/Oley Valley) has scored two goals and has two assists.
Leiendecker has posted a goals against average of 1.11 for the season and has two shutouts for Bloomsburg. Overall he has made 109 saves for a saves percentage of .852.
Millersville is 16-1 on the year and beat the Huskies in the two previous by identical 2-0 scores. The Marauders are ranked second in the country and are led in scoring by Kyle Loughlin with 11 goals and five assists, while goalie Matt Langione has a goals against average of .067 and a saves percentage of .766 with 10 shutouts.
The winner of the game will move on to the PSAC championship game on Saturday at the home field of either Slippery Rock, the second seed from the West, or Mercyhurst, the top seed from the West.