Austin Troutman / Sports Editor
When Clarion’s Golden Eagle soccer team received a schedule in 2017 players saw that only two games were not against conference competition.
Both games came early in the season, including the Sept. 19 contest against Daemen College (N.Y.) and resulted in a 1-0 loss.
Looking ahead, because of all the PSAC action Clarion gets to see this season, bringing the “A” game is crucial.
After eight games, Clarion has held its ground to open the year, going 3-4-1 (.438). All the games the Eagles have been involved in this season have been close, with the margin of victory no greater than two goals.
Two of the most recent contests were no exception, with each game ending in a one-goal advantage, including the Sept.16 contest ending in overtime.
Those games happened against Slippery Rock University on the road, and then the Golden Eagles came home to face the Shippensburg University Raiders.
While in Slippery Rock, defense, as it has played for most of the season, was exceptional.
However, Clarion struggled on offense and, after allowing a goal in the first half, the Eagles could find no answer, and lost 1-0.
The only goal of the game came from the foot of Kaitlyn Barackman, her first goal of the season.
Clarion’s next, contest was a bit more exciting for the Eagles, as this one came down to the wire.
Once again, defense played a major role early.
After the first half of play, the game remained scoreless.
In the next, the 180 people in attendance started to see more action.
Clarion’s Julianna Iocco scored the first and only goal of the second half for her team.
As the clock was winding down, many probably thought that the game had concluded, including Shippensburg.
With one second remaining in the game, however, a goal was made off the foot of Bailey Bzdak, and the Raiders sent the game into overtime.
The first period in overtime did not have much to show for either offense, as Clarion owned the only two shots on goal and both were saved.
For the third time in just seven games, the Golden Eagles were heading for a second overtime period.
The contest got even closer, as with one minute left before a tie, both teams were trying to end it.
With 48 seconds left, Clarion’s Dani McNally kicked the game winning shot, assisted by Aaliyah Odom and J Iocco.
Clarion’s next game goes on the road to battle conference rival Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Sep. 22.
The next home game is another conference game, and will be held at 1 p.m. against Mansfield University on Sep. 24.