Men's Soccer Reigns Over Berks

Men's Soccer Reigns Over Berks

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's soccer continued to dominate unfamiliar competition on its home turf, cruising to a 3-0 victory over Penn State Berks in its non-conference finale.

Alexis Ayala, Aidan O'Malley, and Braden Burns all scored goals in a dominant performance by the Bears (5-7-2), who finished the season a perfect 4-0 at home against non-conference opponents.

Ursinus matched a season high with 14 shots on target among 24 total efforts on a rain-soaked Patterson Field. Tyler Lewin and Matthew Kenwood combined for the Bears' fifth clean sheet of the season.

Ayala gave the Bears a fully deserved lead in the 41st minute. D.J. Briggs won the ball in the attacking zone and poked a short pass to the junior co-captain, who buried a right-footed blast into the top left corner to put the hosts ahead 1-0 with just under five minutes to play in the opening half.

Ursinus nearly added another before the interval, when Joe Kilday played in Aiden Cooper down the right side. Cooper was taken out by the on-rushing goalie, and the Bears were awarded a penalty kick. Colin Klingman sent a low effort towards the lower left corner, but the Berks goalie was equal to the task and made a diving save to keep the margin at one.

Ursinus had several chances before the opener. An early header from Mike Buck looped over the goalkeeper but glanced off the crossbar. Marco Grenda's cross from the right was one-timed by Colin Holtzman, who saw his one-timer thwarted with a sprawling stop in the 21st minute. In the 34th, Ayala sent a bouncing shot across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.

All told, the Bears racked up 14 shots – 9 of them on target – in the first 45 minutes.

Ursinus continued to put Berks to the sword in the second half, only for Adam Johnson to make a series of incredible saves. Johnson punched a stinging shot by Grenda and dove to his right to palm away a low bouncer by Burns midway through the half.

The Bears grabbed some insurance in the 69th minute, taking advantage of a loose ball and a scramble in the box following a corner. Johnson punched the ball out to the top of the box, where O'Malley was waiting to volley it off the turf and into the roof of the net for his third goal of the year.

Burns got on the scoresheet in the 80th minute, dribbling into the left side of the box and ripping a shot that deflected off a defender and into the back of the net, giving him a team-leading four markers.

Ayala led the way with four shots for the Bears, who saw 14 players record at least one. Johnson finished with 11 saves for the Nittany Lions.

Lewin made two saves before giving way to Kenwood for the final 20 minutes and change.

Jerry Bardol and Josh Cameron each made their first career start. Briggs' assist was the first of his collegiate career.

Ursinus will honor its four seniors before taking on No. 5 Johns Hopkins in its home finale on Saturday.