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Winthrop men advance to Big South semis

Published: November 14, 2009
ROCK HILL, SC- After waiting an extra day and not sure where the 2009 Big South Men's Soccer Tournament would be played, fourth-seeded Winthrop and fifth seeded Gardner-Webb had to wait a little bit longer as the two teams battled through two overtimes and a penalty shootout to decide a winner. Winthrop men's soccer team advanced to the semi-finals after defeating Gardner-Webb 4-3 in a penalty kick shootout.

The two teams were tied at 2-2 after 110 minutes of action as Gardner-Webb rallied from a one goal deficit twice, but the game was settled at the penalty spot. Things didn't start well as freshman Tomas Brennan's shot was saved by Andrew Robinson after Gardner-Webb made its first penalty.

Freshman keeper Enrique Miranda stepped up and saved the next two penalties while freshman Adam Skonicki and senior Michael Luk buried theirs to give the Eagles the advantage. The Bulldogs made the next one and senior Matthew Skonicki kept the Eagles ahead by making his. With the penalty shootout tied 3-3, junior Miquel Casajuana calmly stepped up and placed his into the low corner for the win.

"I'm not sure the best team advanced today," said Winthrop head coach Rich Posipanko. "You're always rolling the dice when a game goes to penalty shots. I really believe tomorrow will be a struggle for us with five guys injured and two possibly not able to go. We would like to thank Gardner-Webb for making it a class event with less than 24 hours notice."

Gardner-Webb (8-6-3) had a couple of good opportunities to get on the scoreboard in the first half, but the score was tied 0-0 after 45 minutes. The Eagles (10-5-3) managed to find the back of the net first as Matthew Skonicki scored his 12th goal of the year. Michael Luk played a perfect through ball to Adam Skonicki, who took a touch and then played the ball in front of the net to Matthew Skonicki for the one touch shot from about eight yards out.

In the 64th minute, Gerard Hefferon tied the game at 1-1 after the Bulldogs were awarded a penalty kick. The tie lasted only six minutes as Adam Skonicki scored his sixth of the season. Adam Skonicki collected a through ball, played it to his brother Matthew, who in return played it right back for a one touch shot into the lower right corner.

Gardner-Webb tied the game with less than 10 minutes to go as Richie Wall took a cross from Hefferon and put a shot past Miranda from about 10 yards.

The Bulldogs finished with a 21-9 advantage of shots as Miranda made three saves and Robinson finished with four.

Winthrop will play the winner of top-seeded Coastal Carolina and eighth-seeded Virginia Military Institute.
 
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