Pioneers pelt Berea in men’s soccer season opener

Sophomore Alex Skhraba scored 1 of 6 Transylvania goals on opening day as the Pioneers blasted Berea late
Sophomore Alex Skhraba scored 1 of 6 Transylvania goals on opening day as the Pioneers blasted Berea late

Lexington, Ky. – Chopping away furiously at the Berea College Mountaineers with just one goal to show after 45 minutes, the Transylvania men's soccer team exploded for five goals in the second half to claim a 6-1 victory Saturday afternoon at Pat Deacon Stadium in its 2017 season opener.

Transylvania clocked into the 2017 season with an onslaught of goals that came late in the match after being tightly wound on the scoreboard with Berea for much of the afternoon.

Chomping at the bit to get back onto the field of competition after a long offseason, the Pioneers took out all their frustrations on the visiting Mountaineers on the first day of the Transy Soccer Showcase. For most of the first half, Transylvania occupied the front third of the field, mounting a cornucopia of creative attacks.

But for all their improvisation and relentless pressure, Transylvania could only muster one goal. The strike came in the 14th minute when freshman defender Zach Hill set up his Mt. Sterling neighbor, sophomore forward Alex Shkraba for a speedy delivery and the 1-0 lead.

The final 20 minutes of the half saw golden opportunities left in wait, including a blocked penalty kick, unfinished crosses, and other unmet finishing touches.

But the Pioneers continued to grapple and push forward, and were rewarded exponentially in the second half.

Senior midfielder Riley Calhoon struck quickly out of the locker room to start the second half, pushing Transylvania's lead ahead to 2-0. Berea issued a firm response on one of its rare counterattacks on the day to slice Transy's lead to 2-1.

Following Berea's lone goal in the 56th minute, the Pioneers scored four unanswered goals, all coming in the final 17 minutes as their offensive prowess broke through. Freshman forward Griffin Lamb scored his first collegiate goal in the 74th minute to push Transylvania ahead 3-1.  

Junior midfielder Thomas Shellenberg got in on the scoring craze with Transylvania's fourth goal of the day, and Calhoon tacked on goal number five in the 88th minute for his second consecutive brace in opening season matches. Freshman defender Spencer Moriarty sewed his first collegiate scoring badge as he finished off the scoring in the 89th minute for the 6-1 final.

Transylvania returns to play Sunday at 2:30 p.m., hosting the Muskingum University Muskies in the final game of the Transy Soccer Showcase.

For more on Transylvania men's soccer, follow @TransyMSoccer on Twitter