Men’s Soccer Rallies to Comeback, Keeps Historic Streak Alive and Clinches Home Game

Press Release Photo
Kelvin Omondi scored the game-tying goal in JBU's 2-1 victory over Wayland Baptist (Texas).

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (October 24, 2015) -- Facing a 1-0 deficit and under 20 minutes left to play, the John Brown men’s soccer team (10-5-1, 6-1-0 SAC) scored a pair of goals to capture a 2-1 come-from-behind victory Saturday (Oct. 24) afternoon at Alumni Field.

With the victory, the Golden Eagles maintain sole possession of second place in the Sooner Athletic table, and guarantee another match at Alumni Field this season. John Brown cannot finish below fourth place and will host a lower-seeded opponent on Friday (Nov. 6) in Siloam Springs.

JBU’s 6-1-0 mark in conference play also is a program, surpassing the previous best (4-1-1), set in 2011.

“I’m glad we got a win today because it was easily our worst performance of the season, in terms of playing our style,” admitted head coach Scott Marksberry. “It took about 55 minutes until we started connecting passes. Then by the end of the game, the guys started to believe, and we got back into our rhythm and style.”

That rythmn and style was missing early on, as the Golden Eagles ceded a second-straight goal at home in the 22nd minute of play. WBU’s Travis Somersall headed in a David Herrera free kick at the edge of the box, handing the Pioneers (7-5-2, 3-4-0 SAC) a 1-0 lead.

Both teams took just three shots in the first half. However, the flow of the game was about to change in the second period.

Just 13 seconds into the frame, junior keeper Adam Holt suffered an injury and gave way to freshman Connor Georgopulos in net. Georgopulos, in his first collegiate action, would go on to make four key saves in the second half, not yielding a goal to Baptist.

Having already fired eight shots towards WBU keeper Palemon Plancarte, the Golden Eagles were desperate for a goal as the home crowd began to stir in anticipation. Finally it came.

Freshman Ryan Williams began a counter-attack in the 74th minute, playing a ball up to freshman Conner Haney in the attacking midfield. Haney relayed the ball to freshman Kelvin Omondi, who broke through the Pioneer back line. After a momentary stumble, Omondi composed himself and the ball and fired his third of the season to the bottom right corner of the goal.

Now with Alumni Field buzzing, the Golden Eagles weren’t done.

Four minutes later, Williams took a free kick from 21 yards out in the middle and rang the would-be game-winner off the crossbar. Still the match was deadlocked at one with JBU buzzing with opportunities.

Finally, in the 81st, senior Guilherme Barbosa sealed the victory with his second goal in as many games.

Senior Zeke Zumbro started the play by carrying the ball up the left flank, before dumping a pass to Barbosa in the middle. After advancing a little further, Barbosa shot a pass further into the middle to Haney, who beat a defender to open a lane at the top of the box. Instead of taking a wide-open shot, Haney crossed the ball across the top of the 18 to Barbosa, who had cut behind and toward the goal. Barbosa settled a pass and rocketed a shot from 16 yards out past Plancarte for a 2-1 lead.

The Pioneers had one final chance to tie the score at two, but Arturo Valle-Sardaneta’s header in the box when just past the right post in the 85th minute to preserve the Golden Eagles’ third win in a row.

“Connor [Georgopulos] came in and made some huge saves for us,” Marksberry added. “He looked composed. He got an early touch and, as a goalkeeper, that’s important to touch the ball early to get yourself settled into the game. He gave us a chance to win the game today.”

Haney recorded two primary assists in the victory as JBU rebounded from a tough first half to send 14 shot attempts in the second half, making Plancarte, who was pegged with the loss, make five saves in defeat. Georgopulos (1-0-0) recorded his first collegiate victory, making a quartet of second-half saves.

Now the Golden Eagles will rest until taking on Texas Wesleyan on Thursday (Oct. 29) in Ft. Worth in the first leg of its annual Texas road trip. Then, on Saturday (Oct. 31), JBU will take on Southwestern A.G. (Texas) in Waxahachie.

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