Byrnes, Runikera tally first collegiate goals; Gulls defeat Knights 3-0

Byrnes, Runikera tally first collegiate goals; Gulls defeat Knights 3-0

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's soccer team claimed its seventh win of the season on Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 shutout victory over Southern Virginia University to kick off Capital Athletic Conference play.

The first 30 minutes of play saw plenty of opportunities for the Gulls (7-0-2, 1-0 CAC), with quality shots from junior midfielder Chris Kittelberger, sophomore midfielder Nicholas McCrea, and senior midfielder Stephen Poorman. Salisbury dominated possession in the first half, with a 13-1 shot differential.

During the 10-second countdown for the half, junior midfielder Michael Feeney made a cross into the six-yard box from the left side, where sophomore midfielder Nathan Mattola put a head on the ball towards the right corner of the SVU (2-8, 0-1 CAC) goal. Knights' goalkeeper Efren Gutierrez deflected the ball to the left where junior midfielder Dennis Runikera, Jr., was positioned, scorching a rocket into the back of the net to give the Gulls a 1-0 lead with one second remaining in the half.

The second half saw an offensive surge from the Sea Gulls. Senior attackman Benjamin Aryeetey drove the ball down the right side of the field 12 minutes into the half, playing a cross to the right post of the goal to Kittelberger, who placed a header past Gutierrez, raising the score to 2-0.

Salisbury continued its attack for the remainder of the half. With eight minutes left in regulation, senior defender Jeff Byrnes drew a penalty inside the Knights' 18-yard box, resulting in an SVU yellow card and a penalty kick opportunity for the Gulls. Byrnes shot the penalty into the right corner of the goal as Gutierrez dove left, netting his first collegiate goal, making the score a comfortable 3-0.

The Gulls placed a total of 15 shots during the second half, while SVU took two.

Byrnes, along with Sea Gull captain Kyle Westbrook, anchored a defensive effort that only allowed a total of four shots from the Knights. Senior goalkeeper Drew Staedeli made two saves in 90 minutes of play, claiming his seventh win and fifth shutout of the season.

The men are back on the field Wednesday, October 1, as Salisbury travels to the nation's capital in a non-conference matchup against Catholic University. First touch is set for 4 p.m.


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