MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The College of Charleston men’s soccer team championed the 12th annual NIKE / Aaron Olitsky Memorial Classic behind an 89th minute goal by Francis Twohig which lifted the Cougars to a 1-0 victory over No. 39 Dayton in the tournament finale on Sunday afternoon at Patriots Point.
The Dayton victory paired with the Cougars’ 2-1 win over No. 40 Stanford on Friday night emerged the Cougars as the only undefeated team in Classic play.
After a two-way first half, the Cougars dominated possession in the second half and peppered the Flyers with 14 shot attempts, six of which were on frame. CofC spent a vast majority of the second period in the attacking third and managed to string passes together and maintain possession of the ball.
After several near misses, the Cougars inevitably broke the Flyer defense down in the 89th minute when George Khoury (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) served a ball into the box from the right-hand corner. Connor Coons (Alpharetta, Ga.) rose above the crowd and headed the ball towards the far post where Twohig (St. Simon’s Island, Ga.) then headed it back across the goal mouth and into the right-side netting.
Kees Heemskerk (Zaandam, Netherlands) made seven saves on the day to preserve the shutout. Heemskerk was named the Aaron Olitsky Tournament MVP after the conclusion of the match.
“Dayton is a big, physical team and they were tough,” said head coach Ralph Lundy. “We could have been down at halftime by a couple goals if Kees (Heemskerk) hadn’t have come up real big for us. In the second half we got better and took care of the ball. We possessed more and got forward. We played faster and tightened up on the corner kicks. We adjusted at halftime and the boys did what we needed to do to win the game.
“Frannie Twohig knows how to get a goal. His whole career he’s been able to come up with the opportunistic goal. He just sees some little opening and boom, he heads it to the other post.
“We played 21 different players today. Guys kept coming off the bench and doing their job. Because of these conditions they had to be tough. We deserved the win.”
The Cougars won the shot battle by a 22-15 with the help of a 14-5 second-half advantage. Ralphie Lundy (Mt. Pleasant,S.C.) led that effort with four shot attempts and two on frame. Lundy, along with Heemskerk, Shawn Ferguson (Rock Hill, S.C.) and Sam Redmond (Asheville, N.C.) were all on the all-tournament team after stellar play throughout the weekend.
CofC also proved itself the more disciplined team by committing five fouls compared to Dayton’s 11.
The Cougars return to action next Friday, Sept. 9 when the team heads to Greenville, S.C., for the Furman Diadora/Spinx Tournament. CofC opens the tournament with Memphis on Friday at 4:30 p.m.