Furious Rally Capped Off by Simonsen's Penalty Kick in Overtime
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (October 5, 2013) -- Facing a 2-0 deficit in the second half, the Golden Eagles (5-5-0, 1-1-0 SAC) rallied, firing 19 shots towards the Southwestern Christian (Okla.) net over 55 minutes and finally clinching the victory when sophomore Eli Simonsen completed the 4-3 comeback victory over SCU at Alumni Field this afternoon.
"It was a strange game today," said head coach Scott Marksberry after the see-saw battle. "We basically had the ball for most of the first half, but we were down 1-0. Down 2-0, we still had the run of play. The red card changed everything, though, as we had a lot more space to move the ball.
"I feel like we deserved to win today, but we must get more secure in the back. We are giving up far too many goals in every game. We will work at it before Tuesday as bringing a poor defensive effort to USAO will make for a very long game in Chickasha."
Things did not start out well for the hosts, as Southwestern Christian (6-3-0, 1-1-0) jumped out on top in the 31st minute. The visiting Eagles forced senior keeper Pablo Garcia to make two saves on three shots in the first stanza. The Golden Eagles fired four shots towards the visitors' net, but were unable to score an equalizer.
The second half featured a goal-scoring frenzy as five tallies were recorded. Just seven minutes into the half, another breakdown allowed SCU to notch a commanding 2-0 lead. In front of a boisterous, yet stunned crowd, John Brown needed to make a play to stay within striking distance of a victory.
That play finally happened in the 63rd minute when Simonsen's free kick skipped through the box, eluding multiple players. As it slid on the wet grass towards the goal line, the head of junior forward Ryan Duncan connected, knocking it in at the far post, cutting the Southwestern Christian lead to 2-1. Six minutes later, JBU completed the comeback bid when junior midfielder Martin Gonzalez's chip pass through the box deflected off an Eagle defender to the left side and to the awaiting feet of senior Luke Theimer. After making an adjustment, Theimer one-touched the ball with his left foot past the diving keeper, forcing a 2-2 tie.
The Golden Eagles control of possession overwhelmed SCU in the second half. After connecting on six-straight passes in the 80th minute, Simonsen's lob into the box was won by a leaping Theimer, who directed the ball past the Eagle keeper. The ball, however, hit the crossbar square, falling back into the box where a Southwestern Christian defender inadvertently played the ball into his own net on a clearing attempt.
Hanging onto a 3-2 advantage, John Brown wouldn't emerge from the remainder of the match unscathed as SCU responded on the 86th minute to force overtime.
In the extra session, the Golden Eagles out-shot the visitors, 4-1, but not before Southwestern Christian almost ended it. SCU earned a corner kick and off the ensuing drive, the Eagles pieced together two-consecutive errors that initially threw Garcia off his line. The senior keeper recovered quickly, however, and shot up his left arm, pushing the would-be game-winner over the crossbar, keeping the hosts' hopes alive.
As the clock indicating the closing minute of the first overtime, sophomore Will Simonds played a long cross from the right flank to the far, back post. Freshman Jordan Story was available, but played a one-touch header into the slot where senior Misha Kolemasov awaited. Kolemasov fired a sure-goal on target, but an SCU defender's arm blocked the opportunity, earning John Brown a penalty kick in the extra frame.
The Golden Eagles turned to Simonsen to complete the comeback victory. The sophomore calmly ripped a shot to the bottom right corner, sending the squad onto the field in celebration.
JBU finished with a decisive 23-9 shot advantage and a 8-3 lead in corner kicks. Simonsen and Duncan led all Golden Eagles with three shots apiece while teammates Theimer, Dakota Dresbach and Zari Prescod finished with a pair each.
Garcia (5-5-0) evened his record in 2013 with a three-save victory, none more important than the block in overtime. SCU netminder Kyle Mickleburgh (2-2-0) absorbed the loss in net, finishing the match with seven saves.
John Brown's next match won't get any easier as the Golden Eagles must travel to Chickasha, Okla., to battle with Science & Arts (4-4-0, 1-1-0), a squad that is receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll, this Tuesday (Oct. 8). The tilt is set to begin at 3:00 p.m.