SALISBURY, Md. – In a thrilling double-overtime battle, the Salisbury University men's soccer team claimed its fourth win of the season on Saturday, defeating North Carolina Wesleyan College, 2-1.
With a steady rain falling in Salisbury, the teams initially alternated possession in a physical and slick first 10 minutes. The Battling Bishops (3-2-1) would find the back of the net first. Off of a corner kick by Thorfinnur Thorfinnsson, Marcus Fihlo was able to head the ball towards the lower left corner of the goal, which rolled in to give Wesleyan a 1-0 lead.
The first half saw a few scoring chances for the Sea Gulls (4-0-1). Senior forward Matt Greene had two shots, one on goal, in the first half. The first would come after 11 minutes of play, with Greene receiving a feed from sophomore midfielder Brad Martinelli, placing a shot that would be blocked by a Wesleyan defender. Greene, along with sophomore forward Nathan Mattola, would have the only shots on goal in the first half.
Nearing the end of the first half, Sea Gull goalkeeper Drew Staedeli held the score at 1-0, with a save against Wesleyan forward Charles Chapin, falling to the ground and catching the ball with the back of his leg on an open shot from the right side of the six-yard box.
At the start of the second half, the Sea Gulls proceeded to dominate possession. After seven minutes of play, senior midfielder Stephen Poorman was able to shake two Wesleyan defenders and shoot a rocket that just barely flew over the upper-right post. This would be one of nine shots taken by the Sea Gulls, four of which were on goal, in the second half, opposed to the Battling Bishops' five attempts, with one on target.
The Sea Gulls saw another goal scoring opportunity in the 60th minute, as Poorman found himself with a free kick chance. The senior captain took the shot on goal, but the ball was saved by Wesleyan goalkeeper Jesper Olsson. This was Poorman's second shot on goal of the half, and a sign that the Gulls were going to come out shooting in the half.
The aggressive offensive strategy employed by Salisbury would pay off. With 14:04 remaining in regulation, a cross from the right corner of the field found the head of Greene, who would deflect the ball to the feet of freshman forward Brooks Zentgraf. Brooks scored his first collegiate goal in style, finding the back of the net and drawing the score even, 1-1.
The Bishops attempted to respond, with a cross by Julius Oskarsson to forward Veigas, but flew wide of the Salisbury goal. The Gulls saw one final opportunity in regulation off a shot by senior forward Tanner East with 10 seconds remaining, but it fell short of the goal, sending the game into overtime.
The first overtime would see three shots from each team, none of which found the back of the net.
The second and final overtime saw Salisbury driving yet again, with East taking a high shot on the Battling Bishops' goal within the first 20 seconds of play. A minute later, Martinelli found himself with the ball on the left side of Wesleyan territory. The sophomore attacked the net from the left side, and after maneuvering his way around Olsson, found the open net, and his first collegiate goal, to raise the Sea Gulls over the Battling Bishops with a final score of 2-1 in double overtime.
Greene scored a point from an assist in this contest, his fifth-consecutive game recording a goal or an assist, and is nearing the Salisbury record of six-consecutive games to open a season earning a point, currently held by Kyle Sterling set in 2009. Staedeli recorded five saves during the game, one away from his career record of six, and was an anchor for the Sea Gull defense in this physical match.
The men will remain in Salisbury for their next game for a matchup against the Washington (Md.) College Shoremen. Game time is set for 4 p.m., on Wednesday, September 17.