BRISTOL, R.I. - It was a thrilling start to the 2017 campaign for the Keene State men's soccer program on Saturday afternoon, as the Owls fought back from a two-goal deficit to force the game into double overtime at three goals apiece, before eventually advancing to the championship game of the Roger Williams Opening Weekend Tournament by defeating Clark 4-3 in a penalty-kick shootout.
- Keene State: 0-0-1
- Clark: 0-0-1
How It Happened
Clark jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway throught the first half, as Sean Munroe headed a pass sent from the outside by Greg French and Evan Jurkowski into the back of the net in the 13th minute, before Jonathan Guilherme collected a loose ball in the box and sent it into the corner, past senior goalkeeper Jason Smith. Keene State continued to be aggressive despite the early deficit as back-to-back shots in the 33rd minute from sophomore Donovan Harris and freshman Samuel Heidenreich were blocked in the box, keeping the Owls at bay. Keene State would rattle off a pair of shots during the remainder of the time, yet the Cougars would also fire off a pair of shots to finish off the first time period, as the two teams went into the locker room with a score of 2-0, Clark.
Keene State ramped up the offense in the second half, as a free kick by senior William Salta in the 55th minute was found by sophomore Dale Dubinsky, who blasted in a rebound from his saved header to cut the Owls' deficit to one. Just under 10 minutes later, Keene State evened the score at two, when Heidenreich collected a short pass from junior Samuel Binogono and sent a shot to the right in the 64th minute. Both teams continued to keep the pressure on, but Clark regained its lead 12 minutes later, when Trevor Sheridan sent a pass to Monroe, who fired off a shot off the post and into the left corner. In the 82nd minute, Salta answered back for the Owls and blasted a deep shot from 30 yards out to tie the game up for the second time, before time expired with each sides having three goals.
The Cougars came out firing in the first overtime period, yet neither team could finish their chances in extra time. The Owls' best opportunity came in the second overtime period, as Ndahigwa's shot was blocked and senior Aidan Dean's header chance went wide. Keene State earned a corner kick with two minutes to go in the final overtime, but could not capatilize, as freshman Clinton Mungeta sent his shot wide.
With the game still tied at three at the end of 110 minutes, the two sides went into a penalty-kick shootout to determine who would advance to the championship game. In Round One, Salta gave the Owls the 1-0 lead, as Clark's Jurkowski missed his opportunity. In Round Two, both Ndahigwa and Munroe converted their chances for a 2-1 edge for Keene State. In Rounds Three through Six, Keene State received one goal from Dubinsky, while Clark scored two goals from Ethan Ziemba and Charlie Lane to even the score at 3-3. It would take until Round Seven for the Owls to earn the ability to advance as freshman Brandon Castor converted the final goal.
Inside the Box
- The Owls outshot the Cougars, 11-5, in the second half, yet the two teams shot an even 20 shots each during the full time.
- In goal, Smith played all 110 minutes between the pipes and recorded five saves, including three saves in the first overtime period. For the Cougars, Connor Maguire made eight saves.
- This is Ndahigwa's first career start and third career goal.
- Keene State will play Roger Williams in the championship game at 1:30 p.m. in Bristol, R.I. on Sunday, September 3rd.
- Clark will look to bounce back quickly when the Cougars take on Newbury in the consolation game at 11:00 p.m. on Sunday.