About 430 people braved the fog and the cold last Sunday night to attend the last home Conference game of the season against St Mary’s, and the last official home game in college for seniors Franco Carotenuto, Justin Kendro, Kyle Dagan, Leon Williams, Jonathan Levi, and our best scorer Conor Chinn.
The two teams were quite aggressive and vivid from the beginning to the end despite the weather, and the entire game was balanced, as in the first period, St Mary’s had seven shots, two corner kicks and five fouls while USF had six shots, five corner kicks and five fouls. However, the St Mary’s goalkeeper did not make any saves when our goalkeeper Carotenuto had to make three saves in three minutes.
The 32nd minute was very intense. Rafai Eddy made a brilliant cross from the right flank and Chinn volleyed it to score the first goal of the match – his ninth one of the season.
Unfortunately, the Dons’ joy and hope to win this last home Conference game disappeared in a few seconds, Chinn was punished by a yellow card, and Malcom Alugas from St Mary’s scored one second later when a failed clearance ball was punched in point blank – permitting the Gaels to tie.
Nothing as intense happened, and when the referee blew to signify the end of the first period, we could read frustration on our Dons’ faces.
The second period was also very physical, technical, and fast. The players from both teams were running back and forth on every inch of the field and were taking their chance by shooting as much as possible to put pressure on their opponent, even though our Dons were a little bit superior as they had eight shots against only one for the Gaels, and the goalkeeper from St Mary’s had to save five shots coming from Rafai Eddy (61st), Oscar Englund (65th), Jonathan Levi (69th), Vinny Caloiaro (81st), and Bryan Burke (81st).
From the 76th minute, the Dons could have taken more risks as they were playing at 11 against 10, after Tom Mohoric from St Mary’s received a red card and was ejected, but the score did not change at the end of the official time and both teams had to play over time to try to get the win.
After a short break, the first over time period started, but by contrast with the first two periods, the two teams were less aggressive – probably tired after such an intense beginning – and the game got slower.
None of the teams got opportunities to shoot or to score, except when USF got a corner kick in the 99th minute.
There were definitely more actions in the second over time period, as both teams got two shots each, USF got one corner kick and St Mary’s two. In the 109th minute, the Gael Justin Grider almost made us lose but Carotenuto saved it with class.
The final score was 1-1, and even though it may be frustrating for our men’s soccer, they still played a solid match.
Our Dons still have two more Conference game to play against Gonzaga and Portland next weekend, as they try to end the season on a high note.