The Shippensburg University men’s soccer team earned a thrilling comeback victory in its season opener against Chestnut Hill on Saturday night. The Raiders erased a 2–0 deficit on the heels of the first collegiate goals from sophomores Hannes Ulbrich (Mistelbach, Germany/Graf-Münster-Gymnasium), Darius Bamfo (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown), and Luke Kramer (Mountville, Pa./Hempfield).
Shippensburg (1–0–0) overcame a fast start by Chestnut Hill (0-1-1), who scored the opening goal just after five minutes of play. Juan Ortiz finished his own rebound after Cody Willoughby (York, Pa./York Suburban) made a tough initial save from point-blank range.
It was Ortiz again for Chestnut Hill who made the score 2–0 in the 37th minute. Ortiz slipped through the Raiders’ back line, slotting home a finish into the bottom left corner.
The Raiders responded with a big-time goal just 90 seconds later to cut the deficit in half right before the halftime whistle. Andrew Versis’ (Gambrills, Md./Arundel) flying volley from a set-piece delivery forced a low save from the Griffins’ keeper. The ball sprayed out to Ulbrich at the far post, who thundered in an easy finish to make it 2–1.
Shippensburg took its momentum into the second half with Bamfo heading in the equalizer in the 49th minute. The ball fell to Versis on the wing, delivering a perfect ball to Bamfo sitting alone on the six-yard box.
The big goal came in the 63rd minute, coming from a quick moment of inspiration by Kramer and Luke Henry (Camp Hill, Pa./East Pennsboro). After settling with possession, Henry played a ball over the backline to Kramer who darted through from the midfield. Kramer volleyed his first touch from outside the box, giving the Raiders the 3–2 advantage.
Ryan Krumenacker (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley) made two important saves in the final 20 minutes, coming out of his goal to prevent an equalizer from the Griffins.
Each of the goal scorers attributed the victory to the team’s determination and resilience.
“We struggled a lot with [early deficits last season],” Bamfo said. “We fought with resilience and fought through adversity and kept pushing through it because we knew what we can do as a team.”
Ulbrich, Bamfo and Kramer each scored their first career collegiate goals while Versis earned two assists. Kramer said it was a special moment for his first goal to be the decisive moment in the match.
“In a win, it’s perfect; the best feeling.”
The Raiders return to action with another home contest at David See Field as Shippensburg takes on Jefferson on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 3 p.m.