Birmingham, Ala.— Redshirt freshman goalkeeper C.J. Cochran made 10 saves in his first career start to help the Georgia State men's soccer team tie UAB 1-1 on Sunday night.
Sophomore forward Evan Scott scored GSU's lone goal of the match at the 16-minute mark in the first half. The Panthers (3-1-1) responded after Blazers freshman Diego Navarrete buried a penalty kick to give UAB (3-0-2) the lead less than three minutes prior.
Playing in place of injured starter Vincent Foermer, Cochran dueled UAB senior goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski, who made two saves in the match for a Blazers squad that received votes in the most recent NSCAA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The 10 saves were the most by a GSU goalkeeper since Foermer made 10 saves in a 0-0 tie at UNC Wilmington last season.
"C.J. was fantastic and kept us in the game," GSU head coach Brett Surrency said. "It was really impressive, for his college debut he played absolutely unbelievable."
The penalty kick provided early drama to a match that added plenty as it wore on. Cochran raced out and slid to cut down an attack but drew a yellow card for making contact with a UAB forward in the box. Blazers senior Chris Williams stepped up to take the shot, which Cochran stopped but the flag went up indicating he moved forward off the goal line before Williams took the shot.
Navarrete stepped in and buried the chance into the upper-left corner to break the scoreless match.
"UAB played a lot of long crosses and balls the whole game," Cochran said, "They wanted to flick it on and try and score from there, but Peter Vania and Chris Locandro did a great job in front of me. They had one good chance on the penalty kick and that one is my fault."
Georgia State responded by ramping up its pressure. After a long stretch of offensive possession, sophomore Michael Nwiloh played a ball into the left side of the box that senior Ayokunle Lumpkin centered towards Scott. Scott directed the cross into the back of the net for his second goal of the season and the equalizer at 16:00.
GSU was inches away from tacking on another goal just less than three minutes later. Freshman Bo Stroup lofted a corner kick from the right side that Scott put on net, but a UAB defender hugging the post blocked it and cleared the danger.
The Panthers' defense held firm in the early stages of the second half by fighting off several UAB attacks before they appeared to score the game winner in the dying seconds of the match. The goal was disallowed due to a foul as both teams had goals taken away in the match.
Lumpkin narrowly missed the game winner in the first overtime when he rang the post with a shot. He collected a rebound off a shot by Scott and chipped the ball by a sliding Woszczynski that hit the post, rolled mere inches across the goal line and was cleared by the UAB defense.
"We had a couple other really good chances that were narrow misses and definitely created some good scoring chances," Surrency said. "Every time we step on the field we expect to win, but to tie a team just outside the Top 25 is a good result."
Georgia State returns to Panthersville for two home matches this weekend. The Panthers host Florida Atlantic on Friday at 4:00 pm and quickly turn around to host Florida International on Sunday at Noon. Check www.GeorgiaStateSports.com for previews of both matches later this week.