88th Minute Goal Helps Men’s Soccer to Draw

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A late second half goal helped the Marshall men’s soccer team to rebound after conceding a goal on a penalty kick midway through the second half to draw with Bowling Green on Friday on Hoops Family Field at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.

With the double-overtime draw, the Thundering Herd moved to 2-4-3 on the year, while the Falcons now sit at 1-4-3. The contest was the 14th in the series history between the two programs with Bowling Green still leading the all-time series 7-4-3.

Marshall has posted a 2-1-2 record through the first five contests of its home stand that began Sept. 13.

“It was just another close game and I credit our boys for never quitting and fighting back,” coach Bob Gray said. “I thought we created some great chances that we didn’t put away. They are a good team as they have played well against strong opponents. That is just college soccer, having a one goal game.”

The first half of the contest saw both sides bring strong offensive attacks to force opposing goalies to work as Marshall recorded three shots on goal, to four from Bowling Green.

In the 59th minute, junior goalkeeper Danny Sellitti (Las Vegas) found himself in a one-on-one situation with a Bowling Green attacker. Just as Sellitti took down the Falcon midfielder, the referee’s whistle blew, awarding the Falcons a penalty kick. Danny Baraldi took the kick for Bowling Green and buried it in the top left corner of the goal to break a scoreless contest and put the visitors ahead 1-0.

Entering the match without having scored a goal since Sept. 2, Bowling Green ended the drought with 59:59 gone in its tussle with the Herd. The length of the scoreless span ended at 547:06 when the goal was scored.

Both sides continued to battle as the match went into the final ten minutes of regulation, with the foul count for both teams reaching double-digits.

When the match seemed all but over for the Herd, sophomore Jack Hopkins (Birmingham, Ala.) headed home a cross from freshman Ben Holt (Knoxville, Tenn.) at the 88-minute mark to knot the game up at one goal apiece and extend the contest.

The match then went into overtime with both sides looking to collect the victory and the three points that come with it. Marshall had its share of scoring opportunities in both 10-minute overtime periods, but were unable to convert as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

“For the first time all year in an overtime game I think we actually took control against another team and we created some good chances at the end,” said Gray. “I am proud of our guys finding a way to get the equalizer and for taking it to them in overtime.”

At the conclusion of the match, Bowling Green and Marshall were tied in shots (12 apiece), while Marshall led the Falcons in corner kicks (6-5) and saves (7-4).

The late goal also extended the Herd’s scoring streak to seven matches, dating back to Sept. 6, after Marshall was shutout in its first two contests of the season.

“We have a lot of work to do as we are still making some silly mistakes and have to learn how to possess the ball better,” said Gray. “On their goal we gave them a gift when our defender let the ball go and put our keeper in a tough spot.”

Marshall will have a quick turnaround as the Herd opens its Conference USA schedule on Monday, Sept. 30 against new C-USA member and No. 25 New Mexico at 7:00 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex. The contest will close out the Herd’s six-match home stand.

In-game Twitter updates (@HerdMSoccer), results and a recap from the day’s action will be available at HerdZone.com.

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