FRANKLIN SPRINGS, Ga. -- The Montreat College men's soccer team (2-1-1, 1-0-0 AAC) lost an overtime match at National Christian College Athletic Association No. 15 Emmanuel, 3-2 on Saturday evening at the inaugural match at The Rock in front of 227 energetic fans.
"We started fantastically tonight," said Head Coach David Knapp. "After the first 25 minutes we seemed to get over confident that bit us. Despite the result the boys showed their character tonight. We went down to a good team but we weathered the storm and adversity and nearly got a good result against a good team tonight."
Montreat jumped out early with strong possession as Dylan MacFarlane, Daniel Wolf, Benjamin Lloyd, Gavin Kneeshaw,Lewis Jones, and Ezra White seamlessly moved the ball around for the Cavaliers but it was a shot by Jonathan Faile that nearly gave the hosts a chance to cheer in the fifth minute when he beat his mark before clanging his shot off the post.
After an unusual span of possession for Emmanuel a poor pass by the defense allowed Benjamin Lloyd to charge in on the Lions goal alone where the Buckinghamshire, England, native's shot was blocked. The rebound fell back to Lloyd where he made sure to smash it into the roof of the goal to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead just inside of 10 minutes.
Lloyd nearly doubled the Cavaliers lead when he received a great pass and held off his mark in the 21st minute. Lloyd attempted to chip the charging keeper near the top of the penalty box but his attempt went just wide of the post.
Lewis Jones' ensuing corner kick in the 24th minute sailed towards the back post where White was there to nod the ball back across the goal to a waiting Stefan Cazonelli. The 6-foot-3 Weil am Rhein, Germany, natives attempt was cleaned up by Emmanuel's keeper as the score remained 1-0.
After back-to-back misses by Morgan Anders and Scott Purdue the hosts gave their fans something to cheer about when Melvin Baldy-Gray netted his first goal in an Emmanuel shirt at the 29:18 mark to level the score 1-1.
As the match settled down Alex Wright's chance went past the outstretched arms of Carvalho before it glanced off the crossbar and out of harm's way.
The first half came to a close with the score level, 1-1, with the hosts leading the Cavaliers 11-5 in shots and 4-2 in corner kicks but the Cavs held a distinctive advantage in shot percentage on target as the four of the Cavaliers shots landed on target compared to just 5-of-11 for Emmanuel through the first period.
Emmanuel came out in the second half and netted their second goal just two minutes after the break to move in front, 2-1 on a goal by Mark Shrosbree marking the first deficit the Cavaliers had faced all season. Last year Montreat went behind in each of their first three matches as they fell to 0-3-0.
Facing an adverse crowd on the road and a deficit on the scoreboard the Cavaliers began finding themselves and it was a goal by Gavin Kneeshaw following a run into the box by Dylan MacFarlane that drew the game level in the 65th minute.
The two teams continued to battle but regulation ended with the score 2-2 sending Montreat to its second straight road overtime match.
A goal by Alex Wright in the 96th minute sent the 227 fans into ovation giving Emmanuel its first win at The Rock while dropping Montreat to its first defeat of the season.
Montreat returns to action when they head to Bristol, Va., for their third AAC match at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17 against the Cobras of Virginia Intermont who lost in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament runners-up. The Cavs hold a 3-2-1 all-time mark over VI and haven't lost to the Cobras since 2010 when they lost a 1-0 decision at Howard Fisher Memorial Field. Then the Cavaliers return to Howard Fisher Memorial Field on Wednesday, Sept. 18 when they host the Bruins of Bob Jones at 3 p.m.