LORETTO, Pa. – The Sacred Heart men's soccer team got within a goal late in the first half Sunday against Saint Francis U at Degol Field, but the Red Flash held the Pioneers to two shots in the second half and hung on for the 2-1 win. Sophomore Mahmoud Kafel (Fairfield, Conn.) scored his sixth goal of the season in the game.
The two sides traded shots early in the game, with the Red Flash getting on the scoreboard first in the 18th minute. Saint Francis U's (10-3-3, 3-1-1 NEC) Shaun Russell and Nick Lolarac found Pablo Medina in the box. Medina then fired a shot into the top left corner of the net to give the Red Flash the 1-0 lead. Sacred Heart (3-12, 0-5 NEC) almost tied the game one minute later when Marcelo Simoes (Ouro Fino, Brazil) fired a shot on goal but it was stopped by Red Flash goalkeeper Daniel Valcicak.
Saint Francis U extended the lead to 2-0 in the 27th minute when Ryan Byers headed in a Matt Loughnane free kick. The Pioneers got that goal back in the 31st minute. Kafel forced a Saint Francis U turnover deep in Red Flash territory and hit a low shot past Valcicak to make the score 2-1 with an assist from Aaron Burrell (Tampa, Fla.). The Pioneers almost tied the game in the 39th minute but Valcicak saved a shot from Christiano Lopes (South Windsor, Conn.).
The Pioneers controlled possession early in the second half, with Kafel firing a shot on goal seven minutes in that had to be saved by Valcicak. Lopes also had a shot stopped by the Red Flash goalkeeper in the 54th minute as Sacred Heart continued to look for the tying goal. Saint Francis U almost extended their lead in the 56th minute, but Tucker Hackett (Madison, Conn.) made a save on a shot by Byers. Hackett made another save in the 62nd minute, but the Pioneers were held to those two early shots in the half and could not level the scoreline against the Red Flash.
Saint Francis U outshot Sacred Heart 10-6 on Sunday and also held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks. Hackett made two saves for the Pioneers as Valcicak had four for the Red Flash.
Sacred Heart returns to Campus Field on Sunday, Nov. 3 for a 1 p.m. game against LIU Brooklyn.