GREENSBORO, N.C. – With 43 seconds remaining in double overtime, junior Alesi Osorio (Austin, Texas) fired home the game-winning goal as the ETSU men’s soccer team defeated No. 24 UNC Greensboro, 1-0, on Wednesday night inside the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
As the clock showed one minute to play, sophomore Nate Hodges (Baileytown, Miss.) sent in a corner that was cleared out of play towards midfield by the Spartan defense. Quickly getting to the ball, redshirt freshman Henry Klein (St. Augustine Fla.) made a long throw in that sailed over senior Aaron Schoenfeld (Knoxville, Tenn.) and found Osorio in the box. With a swift spin around to his left, Osorio blasted home the game-winner in the upper-right corner to a stunned crowd of 705 fans.
The victory marks the first time the ETSU men’s soccer team has defeated a team inside the NSCAA/Continental Tires top 25 in program history.
“I think this was two very good teams, and in many regards, this was a very even battle,” said head coach Scott Calabrese. “Our guys showed great determination and character to persevere through a less than stellar first half and come back to win in overtime. It’s something that we’ve done again and again; as games go on we continue to work hard and through perseverance we’re able to get a win.”
The Bucs (2-0-0) were ready to play right from the start, threatening the goal with many chances and taking their first shot on goal less than three minutes into the match. A minute after Theo Yang (Lilburn, Ga.) put ETSU’s first shot on net, the Bucs threatened again by forcing a corner by Hodges that was nullified due to a foul.
Making a hasty substitution, UNCG (1-1-0) took possession and fired away at the ETSU defense. Both the game’s next two shots and corners were provided by the Spartan attack over a 15 minute span, but freshman Simon Schroettle (Rain, Germany) led an ETSU back line that forced UNC Greensboro’s shots to go wide of the net.
“We had really good performances on defense,” said Calabrese. “Simon Schroettle was very good at the back throughout the game, and was really crucial to our success tonight.”
The first half ended with UNCG holding a 6-3 advantage in shots, but none of the Spartan’s six attempts were on goal, while ETSU fired three shots that had to be saved.
UNCG’s first shot on goal didn’t come until the clock had counted off 64 minutes. Over a span that lasted less than one minute, the Spartans pressured ETSU goalkeeper Ryan Coulter (Dublin, Ireland) with two shots on goal and a corner attempt. The redshirt sophomore was a match for each challenge, saving both shots and getting ETSU immediately back on offense, where the Bucs nearly took the lead when Schoenfeld headed a ball off the post just 28 seconds after Coulter’s save. For the game, Coulter made four saves, one more than UNCG’s Peyton Ford.
“I think Ryan Coulter showed a lot of poise in goal and worked very hard,” said Calabrese. “He made some big saves when UNCG threatened in the second half and kept us in the game.”
With 90 minutes having gone by and the game still scoreless, ETSU and UNCG prepared for overtime with UNCG holding a 13-6 advantage in shots while both goalies were even with three saves a piece.
The Bucs didn’t take a shot until less than one minute remained in the second overtime, but that shot, the game-winner by Osorio, may have opened the eyes of the college soccer world to the strong program Calabrese is building in Johnson City.
“We showed a lot of character, poise and grit that we showed last year which allowed us to be successful,” added Calabrese. “I think if this team continues to move forward and work hard, together and for each other, then we can continue to have success.”
Last year, ETSU played eight overtimes games, going 7-1 through the eight contests. The Bucs’ only overtime loss in 2010 came against then-No.4 ranked North Carolina on Oct. 30.
Up next for the ETSU men’s soccer team will be Marshall on Sunday, September 4, in Huntington W. Va. at 7 p.m.
For more information at ETSU men’s soccer, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s soccer links.