Lions’ Season Ends In NEAC Semifinals
FORT WASHINGTON, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg's 2012 season came to an end on Saturday, Nov. 3 when the Lions dropped a hard-fought match to overall number one seed Penn State Abington in the semifinal round of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championship tournament. Harrisburg got on the board first but was unable to hold the lead and eventually fell by the slimmest of margins to Abington 3-2.
Sophomore forward Jon Willingham (Harrisburg, Pa. / Sci-Tech High) scored the first goal of the contest in the game's 17th minute and the Lions looked to be in business early.
Not long after, NEAC all-conference third-team selection Justin Henderson (Cherry Hill, N.J. / Cherry Hill East) appeared to put Penn State Harrisburg up 2-0 but his goal was nullified due to the Lions being offside.
Abington forward Alexander Martins netted the equalizer ten minutes before halftime and the top seed would score the go-ahead goal just four minutes into the second half when Matt Howard put his shot past Harrisburg keeper Charlie Hyson (Bel Air, Md. / Calvert Hall).
But Penn State Harrisburg fought back and picked up another score when Henderson left no doubt about the next ball he put into the back of the net in the 63rd minute. The forward's 11th score of the year tied things at two-apiece.
Unfortunately, Abington proved too strong and picked up a third goal, this one from Julian Ward, just over four minutes later. The hosts were able to hold the lead for the next 23 minutes and advance to the conference's title game.
The loss ended Harrisburg's season one win short of reaching the NEAC championship contest for the third consecutive year. The Lions end 2012 with an overall record of 9-9-2. The Blue and White went 6-3-1 in conference play. The most recent campaign was the first for Head Coach Seamus Donnelly.
"I thought today's was an excellent game of soccer that could have gone either way," he said following the match. "The boys literally left blood on the field for the cause today and I could not have asked for anything more from any of them. They are a credit to their school and I consider it a privilege to have been their coach this season."