By Brendan Gunn
The Phantoms men’s soccer team was defeated by Bucks County Community College at the Phantoms’ home field, on the Marple campus, on Sept. 8 by a score of 5-2.
This defeat for the Phantoms marks their first loss of the season after starting the year with two victories over Harrisburg Area Community College and Montgomery County Community College.
“When we came out, we didn’t play our game as a team,” said Nate Emery, a DCCC freshman midfielder from Haverford, Pa. “We tried to play too individually, and they were able to break us down from there. If we played as a team, we would definitely have been able to beat them.”
Emery and midfielder Shamour Young scored one goal each for the Phantoms.
Bucks County midfielders Daniel Merritt and Derek Czerniak each netted two goals, while forward Furkan Celik added another.
In addition to the first loss of the season for the Phantoms, they also fall behind Bucks in the Region XIX standings.
Seconds before the opening whistle, Chris Birch, a DCCC freshmen, delivered a speech to rally his teammates as they huddled midfield.
When play started, Bucks County struck first with a goal by Merritt, his first of two, three minutes into the game, as fans for the home team let out roars of frustration. Just 12 minutes later, Czerniak tallied his first goal of the game, on an assist from Merritt, to give Bucks a 2-0 lead.
With just 10 minutes left in the first half, Young put the Phantoms on the scoreboard with a whistling shot past Bucks County’s goalie, Josiah Gibboni. At the end of the first half, Bucks County clung onto a 2-1 lead, with DCCC scratching back.
When play resumed, the Phantoms struck first with the equalizing goal from Nate Emery six minutes into the half. Emery headed in the goal on a corner kick from teammate Abrahim Kromah.
“We set up our usual house, and I lined up as the number one position, which is a near post run,” Emery said. “Right when [Kromah] put his hand up, I ran for the ball, and it was perfect timing because I was able to head the ball before the goalie could grab it.”
Just two minutes after Emery’s equalizer, during the 53rd minute, a DCCC turnover resulted in Czerniak’s second goal of the contest, giving Bucks the lead once again.
Later, Bucks was able to build on their lead when Merritt dribbled around Phantom defenders and rocketed in his second goal of the game, giving Bucks a 4-2 lead, in the 61st minute.
Shortly after, things took a dramatic turn when DCCC sophomore Muad Ali was injured by a slide tackle from an opposing player. DCCC head coach Ryan Griffith was ejected from the game by officials, after voicing his disdain with what he felt should have been a foul on the opposing player.
Without their head coach on the bench, in the 73rd minute, the Phantoms allowed Celik to score a fifth goal for Bucks County.
As the final whistle blew, DCCC players headed to their bench in disappointment, suffering a defeat by the score of 5-2.
“We just have to show up to practice, pick up our heads, and play our game,” said Emery explaining how DCCC can bounce back from this loss.
The Phantoms went on to split their next four games, and will be back in action at home, against Harrisburg Area Community College on Sept. 27.
Contact Brendan Gunn at firstname.lastname@example.org