Soccer team battles Hartwick to 2-2 tie

The BG men’s soccer team tied first-year Mid-American Conference opponent Hartwick 2-2 in two overtimes yesterday, moving its record to 3-7-3 overall and 0-1-1 in the conference.

Head Coach Fred Thompson said he thought his team started off flat, but played well as the game progressed.

“We didn’t play well for the first half, but the second half kind of evened us out and I thought we did well in overtime,” he said.

“That was a good Hartwick team, I’m glad they’re in our conference,” he added. “They’re going to make the conference better, and they are tough to play against.”

“As the game progressed, we felt like we improved. We gave the other team chances, but we just fixed it in the second half,” said senior Abiola Sandy.

The Falcons fell behind early when Hartwick’s John Paul Boyle got behind the BG defense and scored. After being down 1-0 at halftime, the Falcons climbed back with second-half goals coming from Sandy and fellow senior Alec Perea.

BG’s first goal came when a penalty was called after forward Matt Klancic was tripped from behind inside the box, earning the team a penalty kick. Sandy stepped up to take the kick and fired a shot into the lower right corner of the net.

“[The goalie] actually made a good dive, but the PK was better,” Sandy said of the goal.

Just six minutes later, Hartwick took the lead back with another goal after a shot deflected off the body of a BG defender and into the net. Later in the half, however, the Falcons answered as Perea chased down a long ball, kicking it past the charging goaltender and into the net for a goal.

Although the rest of regulation was played to a draw, the Falcons came close to winning during the last few seconds of regulation when forward Cameron Hepple crossed a pass to an open Chuko Evwaraye in front of the net. Evwaraye quickly got a shot off with one second left to play, but the ball sailed just high, sending the game into overtime.

Despite out-shooting the Hawks 16-14 in regulation, the Falcons were out shot 3-1 in the two overtime periods. Both teams saw several quality scoring opportunities in the extra periods, but neither could convert.

The Falcons, who were without four starters in their previous game on Wednesday, were at full strength against Hartwick yesterday. Defensemen Thomas McLean and Dusko Topolic, forward Cameron Hepple, and goalkeeper Paul Shoemaker all returned for BG yesterday.

Despite being at full strength, Thompson used a total of 17 players throughout the match to help mix things up. “We’re at the point now where it’s later on in the season, people are banged up, and we need to use more bodies,” he said.

“Hopefully the more people we use, the more impact they can have.”

The Falcons will now begin what promises to be a difficult week, as they will hit the road to take on two nationally ranked opponents. Wednesday, the team will travel to Ann Arbor to face No. 21 Michigan, and Saturday they will head to Akron to take on the No. 22 Zips.

After a strong performance yesterday, Perea showed a great deal of confidence in his team as he looked forward to the tough week ahead.

“Basically, if we communicate well, we’ll probably beat them,” he said confidently.

After the two road games, the Falcons will finish out the regular season with three straight home games starting on Oct. 24.