STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan men's soccer team secured their second-straight AMCC tournament appearance with a 4-0 win over Penn St.-Altoona, Wednesday afternoon, highlighted by senior Leo Herrmann's first hat trick of the season.
The last time the Barons defeated Altoona was when head coach Christian Bobak took the field in a Baron uniform alongside assistant coach Zeph Swope in 2009. The coaching duo weren't the only familiar faces in the Barons' second program win over the Lions as center ref Gregg Day managed the game for both contests.
After an onslaught of Baron shots in the first 20 minutes of the game, Herrmann broke the scoreless tie with his 15th goal of the season. Senior Dominic Vander Woude tracked down the ball as it was approached the end line to the right of the goal and sent a perfect pass to Herrmann as he warded off a pair of Lion defenders and buried the ball into the back right corner of the net to give FUS a 1-0 lead with 20:20 to play in the first.
After subbing in with just under 10 to play, freshman Sebastian Koehler put a ball on net almost right away but the Lion keeper made a save and Altoona transitioned into its offense and got a shot off. Senior keeper Thomas Dosedel made a diving stop to keep the Lions off of the board and the teams headed into halftime with the Barons leading, 1-0.
Coming out of the break, the Barons got off the first shot as Vander Woude's attempt went just wide and freshman JP Bobak took a corner in the first three minutes of action. The Lions took over from there and after a Franciscan foul looked to be making a run at the net. Altoona's Jordan Crist went one-on-one with Dosedel and his shot narrowly missed tying the contest as it hit the post and ricocheted in the Barons' favor. Franciscan rattled off six more shots, five of which were on target until a shot from sophomore Ian Baldau was blocked went over the backline setting up another Baron corner. Bobak placed his corner kick on the far left post for Herrmann, who found the empty corner and gave FUS a 4-0 lead.
Franciscan wasn't satisfied with the 2-0 lead, however, and kept the pressure on the Lion backline. After a shot from Bobak was saved, junior Michael Bobak put a shot on net that was blocked but the Barons kept possession. JP Bobak drew the keeper off his line and freshman Gustavo Gutierrez drove to the far post as Bobak was able to slide the ball behind the goalie for an unselfish assist on an open-net Gutierrez goal.
With 3:01 to play, Herrmann found himself with an open net in front of him and Koehler was able to put the ball over the Lion defense for Herrmann who put the final touches on the 4-0 win and his hat-trick with this 17th goal of the season.
The Barons out-shot Altoona 23-6 while 10 different Barons recorded a shot.
"Everyone played today and really earned this win," commented head coach Christian Bobak. "A lot of the credit goes to JP, Dom, and Sebastian for setting up the goals and Leo for finishing the chances. Jude Ledyard and Daniel Vander Woude came in and played well while Michael [Bobak] had a great game.
"Leo was out Man of the Match. And really, after a slow start in the first half, everyone played well for us."
Herrmann now has 17 goals and seven assists for 41 points on the year, just one goal and one point shy of the program's single-season records in both categories, records he holds in both categories.
The shutout is Dosdel's fourth of the season and third in the conference.
"I think Tom played exceptionally today," remarked Coach Bobak. "He had command of the net and really earned this shutout."
The Barons have clinched a spot in the AMCC tournament and wrap up the regular season on Saturday as they travel to Medaille for a 1:00 pm kick off.