Ryan Coulter didn’t have a whole lot to do, but when his teammates needed him most, he came through in a big way.
Coulter made a diving, fingertip save on what appeared to be a sure goal in the second sudden-death overtime period Monday night, helping the East Tennessee State soccer team salvage a scoreless tie with Winthrop at Summers-Taylor Stadium.
“I just have to be on my toes,” Coulter said. “That’s the thing with the goalkeeper. I only had two minor things to deal with the rest of the game. You really have to be mentally focused. Luckily I was able to make that save. The team helped me out and lucky I was there to help the team out.”
Coulter was credited with only two saves while earning the 17th shutout of his career.
“That’s why you have to have a goalkeeper like Ryan,” ETSU coach Scott Calabrese said. “In the end, you need him to keep you in games if you make a mistake. He did a good job.”
The tie left the Bucs 1-1-1 and Winthrop 2-0-1.
Each team had chances to score, but the Bucs really turned up the pressure in the second half. After mustering just one shot attempt in the first 45 minutes, ETSU launched 16 the rest of the game. Along the way, they controlled the action for much of the second half.
“The second half was a far better performance,” Calabrese said. “It was much more in line with the things we’re trying to do as a team. There’s a lot of new players who are getting more in tune with how we play and our philosophy. All we need is that final pass or that opportunity we’re ready for and we convert it. That’s what was missing tonight, that final bit of quality to finish it off.”
ETSU’s all-time leading scorer David Geno, who had been sidelined by a foot injury, made his first appearance of the season with 14 minutes left in the first half. The Atlantic Sun Conference’s preseason player of the year managed one shot in his return that came earlier than predicted.
“I felt great,” he said. “Disappointed with the tie, but it felt great get out here with the guys and contribute.”
Geno went down in the first half after being kicked in his left foot, the one he had surgically repaired over the summer. He managed to get up and continue to play. Afterward, he seemed happy the foot passed the test.
“It was exactly what I needed to happen,” he said.
Jonny Campbell, a fifth-year senior making his first career start, had ETSU’s only scoring chance -- and only shot -- of the first half. His curling shot from distance in the 11th minute was tipped away by Winthrop goalie Guilherme Avelar.
With 8:50 left in the first half, Winthrop’s James Skonicki hit the goal post with a half-volley on a low cross.
ETSU’s best scoring chance of the night came in overtime when Avelar turned away a shot from Luis Calzadilla and the stopped William Nordenstrom’s header off the rebound. Avelar finished with seven saves.
The Bucs travel to Birmingham this weekend for games against Memphis on Friday and UAB on Sunday. They return home Sept. 20 for a game against Furman.