HISTORY IN BREVARD: Tornados slay SAC giants Lincoln Memorial, 2-1
Halonen's golden goal gives Brevard first SAC win in school history
Brevard, N.C. - The Brevard College men's soccer team made history Friday afternoon, shocking 2007 NCAA Division II National runner-up Lincoln Memorial University, 2-1 in overtime, for the first South Atlantic Conference victory in program history. Brevard improves to 4-13-1 (1-6 SAC) with the historic win.
Brevard trailed 1-0 with less than a minute left in the contest, but Ian Townson's (Boiling Springs, S.C.) free kick was on target, finding the head of unmarked Douglas Neill (Inellan, Scotland), who put it in the back of the net to tie the score and send the match to overtime. Nine minutes into the first OT period, Jussi Halonen (Joensuu, Finland) sideswiped a loose ball into the net for the golden goal after Neill and Alex Vonschulze (Flagstaff, Ariz.) headed the ball into the 18-yard box. The historic goals combined to give the Brevard men's soccer team its first SAC victory since joining the conference officially in June of 2008.
The match was contested in a constant downpour that turned the field into a watery mud hole by the time the 4 p.m. kickoff arrived. Due in large part to the conditions, the match was scoreless at the half, with neither team mounting much of a scoring opportunity. Brevard goalkeeper Jerry Hatsady (Orlando, Fla.) was required to make just four saves, none of them particularly taxing, in the opening stanza, and LMU keeper Michael Watkins (Statesville, N.C.) made just one.
As the rain continued to pour, the field became even more waterlogged, but both teams mustered some offensive firepower in the second half. Brevard nearly took the lead in the 56th minute when Francios Diouf (Sliver Springs, Md.) launched a vicious strike from 25 yards out, but Watkins was up to the challenge, tipping the ball over the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.
The Railsplitters finally put a goal on the board in the 80th minute. Brito Martins (Sorocaba, Brazil) sent a high ball into the box, which deflected off of a pair of BC defenders and to the foot of Aaron McKenna (Birmingham, England). The sophomore finished, beating Hatsady to put Lincoln Memorial up 1-0.
Just when it appeared that Brevard's strong efforts would lead to another one-goal loss (their eighth of the season), Brevard drew a foul in the final minute, and Townson and Neill grabbed lightning in a bottle. The game-tying goal was Neill's third of the season and earned the heavy underdogs a shot in overtime.
The Tornados finally got the decision in a close game when Halonen's 99th minute shot found the back of the net, sending the Tornado bench into a state of euphoria.
For the match, Hatsady stopped seven of the eight shots the Railsplitters put on target. Watkins made three saves and allowed two goals. LMU outshot Brevard overall, 20-11.
The win for Brevard is huge considering the opponent. Lincoln Memorial advanced all the way to the Division II National Championship Game in 2007 after reaching the National semifinals a season before. The Railsplitters began the season ranked No. 2 in the NSCAA Division II poll, and they are currently ranked No. 6 in the Southeast Region.
Brevard looks for their second win in a row when they host North Greenville on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The match is the final home contest for senior Kyle Hamilton. Lincoln Memorial hosts Mars Hill Tuesday at 3 p.m.