FLORENCE, SC – Senior Sven Ricke scored the match-winning goal and chipped in a pair of assists to tie a Patriot career record as Francis Marion University rallied in the second half to down short-handed USC Aiken 4-2, Wednesday night (Oct. 21) in Peach Belt Conference men’s soccer action.
Francis Marion improves to 9-4-1 overall and 4-3-0 in the PBC, while moving into fourth place in the conference standings. The Senior Night and Sea of Red crowd of 480 was the largest home crowd in FMU history.
The Patriots will conclude their regular season with three road matches beginning with a Saturday afternoon (3:30 p.m.) kickoff at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, Ga.
Francis Marion outshot the Pacers 16-11 and held an 11-5 advantage in corner kicks.
Ricke’s game-winner came in the 68th minute when sophomore Jayden Doyle lofted a pass into the penalty area and Ricke settled the ball and scored from nine yards out.
FMU freshman Fernando Alpizar-Ramos added an insurance tally at the 77:09 mark. The Clover, S.C., native scored on his first collegiate shot when he hammered in Ricke’s corner kick that bounced through the 6-yard box.
Alpizar-Ramos’ high school teammate Robert Schreiner earned his first win in goal. The freshman goalkeeper registered five saves.
Francis Marion took a 1-0 advantage at the 11:44 mark when junior defender Peter Beniseau headed in a corner kick from Ricke. Ricke’ two helpers in the match allowed him to tie former Patriot great Dzevat Nikocaj for the Francis Marion career record for most assists with 26.
In the 25th minute, freshman Sindre Traaseth was the beneficiary of a beautiful give-and-go sequence between Ricke and freshman Anton Jonsson that saw a long touch blocked by USCA freshman goalkeeper Andre Bernardini, but the ball fell to Traaseth and his shot was stopped by Bernardini and resulted in an FMU corner kick.
The score remained 1-0 at halftime despite USCA losing defender Dave Stone to a straight red card for a hard tackle in the 27th minute.
After halftime, the Pacers (4-4-3, 1-3-1) rallied to score a pair of goals in the opening three minutes of the stanza. Scores by Nathan Shanko off an assist by Sandre Duncan only 55 seconds in the second half and a 35-yard worm-burner free kick by Dean Smith exactly two minutes later catapulted the Pacers to 2-1 lead.
However, the FMU defense regrouped and surrendered only two shots over the final 42 minutes, both of which came after the Patriots had assumed a 4-2 lead.
Francis Marion knotted the score at 2-2 in the 55th minute when sophomore Levin Sandmann sent a hard cross from the far left side into the box and Jonsson tapped a 7-yard shot into the top netting. Bernardini made a spectacular leaping save on Sandmann’s 18-yard attempt in the 59th minute, and a Pacer defender near the goal line stopped a one-touch shot by Jonsson off a Ricke cross in the 63rd minute.
Ricke’s score came at 67:27 and was later followed by Alpizar-Ramos’ insurance goal.
Bernardini recorded six saves.
In addition to Ricke, the Patriots also honored seniors David Sheridan and Gino Lucarelli prior to kickoff.
Francis Marion Univ. (9-4-1, 4-3-0 PBC) def. USC Aiken (4-4-3, 1-3-1 PBC) 4-2
Date: Oct 21, 2015 Attendance: 480
Weather: Clear, 75 degrees, Winds WSW @ 5 mph
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
USC Aiken........... 0 2 - 2
Francis Marion Univ. 1 3 - 4
1-0. 11:44 FMU Peter Beniseau (2) (Sven Ricke) - header at back post off corner kick
1-1. 45:55 USCA Nathan Shanko (4) (Sandre Duncan) - Loose ball in ball hammered home from 5 yards
1-2. 47:55 USCA Dean Smith (1) (unassisted) - Free kick from 35 yards out, worm-burner on ground
2-2. 54:02 FMU Anton Jonsson (4) (Levin Sandmann) - cross from far left, hard tap-in to roof of goal from 7 yards out
3-2. 67:27 FMU Sven Ricke (6) (Jayden Doyle) - Lofted pass into box, settled and scored from 9 yards out
4-2. 77:09 FMU F. Alpizar-Ramos (1) (Sven Ricke) - Loose ball from corner kick hammered through from 6 yards out
Shots: USC Aiken 11, Francis Marion Univ. 16 ; Saves: USC Aiken 7 (Andre Bernardini 6; TEAM 1), Francis Marion Univ. 5 (Robert Schreiner 5)