Vaughn Brewer, Sports Writer
To kick off the season Saturday afternoon, Sept. 2, the Ram’s traveled to Johnstown, Penn., to take on the Mountain Cats. The contest went through two overtime periods yet still ended in a 2-2 tie, as both teams are both now 0-0-1 on the young season.
Both teams fought hard in regulation, where all four goals were scored. Perhaps, players on each team ran out of gas as the overtime periods dragged on, resulting in the tie.
However, during regulation, Shepherd scored first, at the 9:52 minute mark. Shepherd midfielder Luis Prado scored the first goal of the Rams’ season unassisted.
That mark stood until the 43 minute mark, when Mountain Cat midfielder Chase Kuhn notched a goal assisted by D.J. Vogelman off of a free kick.
The teams went into halftime tied 1-1 and the second half turned out to be a repeat of the first. The Rams again scored first as Shepherd midfielder scored his second goal of the season at the 65 minute mark.
This lead for the Rams was much shorter lived, as Pitt-Johnstown countered with a goal of their own at the 77 minute mark.
The scored remained at 2-2 through the two overtime periods but both teams were trying hard to change that.
Perhaps endurance played a factor as Shepherd attempted four shots in the overtime periods, none of which found the back of the net. Pitt-Johnstown attempted only a single shot in the first overtime period.
Team totals show that the Rams had 20 shots total. For comparison, the Mountain Cats had 17 shots on goal throughout the game.
Mountain Cat goalkeeper Nate Kieya had 10 saves on the night, a solid effort. Shepherd goalkeeper Jacob Dougal had four saves in the game.
The head coach of the Rams, Alexander Jones, commented after the game that the team did feel nervous with this being the first game of the season, but felt that everyone was fairly composed coming into the game:
“Of course there was some “first game of the season” nerves but for the most part I believe everyone was pretty composed coming into this game. We have been preparing for this season since last spring and the boys have been putting in a lot of extra work to improve. They came in with certain roles prepared by the coaching staff and they knew what to execute coming into this game.”
In terms of where Jones thought the team played well in, he had the following to say:
“I believe we performed well as a team and not individually. We kept our shape defensively and we worked the ball very well up and down the pitch.”
Jones and the team are looking forward to their home opener next Sunday, September 10, against West Virginia Wesleyan, but know they have work to do first:
“We are very excited about the home opener against West Virginia Wesylan. But during the next two away games before the home opener we would like to work on capitalizing on our chances at goal. We have improved at going forward and believe we will be seeing more opportunities to score this year.”
The Rams look to secure their first victory against Lock Haven on Monday, Sept. 4, at noon.
Vaughn can be reached at Vbrewe01@rams.shepherd.edu