Men’s soccer defeats UAB in overtime, keeps postseason hopes alive

 

Marshall University’s men’s soccer team won its final home game of the season Saturday in overtime against the University of Alabama at Birmingham 3-2 at Hoops Family Field.

The win keeps Marshall’s postseason hopes alive, as the team must win its final game on the road against Old Dominion University to get into the Conference USA tournament.

“One more,” senior defender Austin Klueh said. “We have to win one more and we’re in.”

The Herd took control of possession early in Saturday’s match, earning two corner kicks in the first few minutes.

Junior midfielder Daniel Jodah capitalized for the Herd by scoring the first goal of the game early in the first half when his shot deflected off of a Blazer defender into the back of the net.

“It seemed like [UAB] were still on the bus when we first started,” senior midfielder Jack Hopkins said.  “We were all over them.”

Marshall kept on the attack for the rest of the half and took its 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

“It’s what we worked on in training, so it was good to get out here and actually put it in a game,” senior defender Conner Marino said.  “We definitely wanted to get more offensive because we needed to win. So, we tried to push everyone forward and it worked out.”

The Blazers tied the game at 1-1 less than 15 minutes into the second half with a shot by senior defender Ian Svantesson, which was his eighth goal of the season.

As the second half drew to a close, the Herd regained the lead with three minutes left to play after junior midfielder Rimario Gordon scored his fifth goal of the season to make it 2-1 in favor of Marshall.

However, UAB answered back 30 seconds later by scoring from the foot of senior forward Karl Chester and the game went to overtime tied 2-2.

Marshall found a way to win in the first three minutes of extra time, as Gordon chipped the ball into the box where senior defender Matt Freeman received the pass and buried a shot in the goal.  It was Freeman’s second goal of the season and it gave the Herd the 3-2 win over the Blazers.

“Thomas [Olivier] told me, Ryan [Forde] and Rimario to just run,” Freeman said. “If the ball’s up there, just run and put yourself in position to score. It was a great ball by Rimario to set me up. I kind of took a while to shoot it, but I didn’t want to miss it.”

Freeman was one of eight seniors honored in a special ceremony before the game for Senior Night. The other seniors were Hopkins, Marino, Nick Edginton, Ryan Forde, Ian Lovern, Austin Klueh and Tommy Trupo.

“Being here with these guys that I’ve grown to know for the last three years, you can’t ask for better friends,” Trupo said.  “It’s going to be lifelong friends that can’t replace anybody else, and I think that’s the most important part to me.”

Kickoff for the Herd’s regular season finale against the Monarchs is set for Saturday at the Old Dominion Soccer Complex in Norfolk, Virginia.

Alec Hildebeidel can be [email protected]