The Mountain Cats on the attack.

Shepherd Men’s Soccer Falls to University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown 4-2

The Shepherd Rams men’s soccer team lost to the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Mountain Cats Tuesday afternoon 4-2.

Haven Mackle scored the first goal for the Mountain Cats, a beautiful shot that banged off the post and in. Junior Jacob Clements misjudged the shot and allowed it to go in on accident.

The second goal the Mountain Cats scored came off a corner kick courtesy of Colin Harrison, who was set up by Mackle. At first, the Rams’ defense stiffened and blocked the shot coming off the corner. However, they were unable to clear the initial rejection, which led to a tap in by Harrison.

However, the Rams strung together several possessions that featured crisp ball movement and spacing. Sophomore midfielder Callum Ward-Ashton made a nice cut through the middle and junior forward/midfielder Justin Marshall passed the ball into open space, where Ward-Ashton slammed it to the back of the net.

Shepherd trailed 2-1 at the half, before things quickly got out of hand.

The Rams defend their goal in the first half.
Anthony Bracken
The Rams defend their goal in the first half.

Colin Michalski and Erik Etter of the Mountain Cats scored off defensive lapses of the Rams. Michalski weaved his way through three Shepherd defenders and sent the ball into the back of the net on his own. Etter scored off a nice feed from a teammate, which was set up just outside the 18-yard box. Etter faded away and buried the shot to cement the Mountain Cats lead.

Shepherd would not go away, though. After some substitutions, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, the Rams seemed to play with more energy and focus the last 13 minutes or so.

The Rams had crisp and efficient ball movement that resulted in countless shots on goal toward the end of the game. Sophomore midfielder Justin Daniels capitalized when he was set up by sophomore forward/midfielder Justin Poole.

Daniels gave a spark to the Rams, which they used to push UPJ to their limits, even with a two-goal lead. The pressure the Rams exhibited on them was tremendous.

With around two minutes remaining, the Rams took a shot, which appeared to be swatted down by the hand of a Mountain Cats’ defender in the penalty box. Astonishingly, there was no penalty called, and the game soon ended in a 4-2 defeat.

The Rams move the ball into scoring position in the second half.
Anthony Bracken
The Rams move the ball into scoring position in the second half.

After the game, Head Men’s Soccer coach Jonathan Thayill discussed his team’s performance.

“Our centerback Joseph Topper was very vocal in the back, which helped us quite a bit,” Thayill said. “Justin Poole and Jeff Kammerer really put pressure on them in the offensive end and took pressure off of the backs. Even when our keeper might be having a rough day I think the rest of the team has to step up and get a little more pressure on the ball.”

Thayill also discussed where the team could improve.

“I thought we did a good job of pushing at the end but it’s a too little too late type thing. We have to look at our organization a bit more and maybe some finishing cause I thought we created a lot of chances but we did not score as many goals as I would like from the number of chances that we created,” he said.

The Rams play at home again when they face Concord on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. for the Breast Cancer Awareness Game.

Anthony Bracken is a Staff Writer for The Picket. He can be reached at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.