EVANS, GA – Top-seeded Young Harris College scored four second-half goals to snap a 1-1 deadlock against a short-handed Francis Marion University squad as the Mountain Lions prevailed with a 5-1 win, Friday evening (Nov. 6) in the semifinals of the 2015 Peach Belt Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament.
The fourth-seeded Patriots end their season with an 11-5-2 record, while Young Harris (15-3-0) advances to Sunday’s championship match at 3:30 p.m. against the Flagler College/Lander University winner. FMU was making its third consecutive appearance in the semifinals.
Francis Marion started the game on the aggressive, registering five shots in the opening 15 minutes. The best scoring opportunity came in the 14th minute when Gael Mabiala’s header off a Sven Ricke corner kick was cleared off the goal line by a Mountain Lion defender.
Patriot sophomore midfielder Thomas Kues was given a red card for a hard tackle just inside the Mount Lions’ half with 16:18 remaining in the opening half. Eight minutes later, Young Harris took a 1-0 lead when Tom Joslin slid a through ball to Mikie Rowe for 7-yard shot.
The Patriot rallied to knot the score at 1-1 only 1:37 into the second stanza. Junior defender Peter Beniseau headed Ricke’s free kick toward goal but Young Harris goalkeeper Jordan Bradshaw came up with the save. However, the ball rebounded to sophomore Jevon Williams who tallied his second goal of the season.
Despite playing a man down, FMU nearly took a 2-1 lead only minutes later, but Ricke’s free kick narrowly avoided the foot of Patriot freshman Levin Sandmann in the 6-yard box.
Young Harris regained the lead at 2-1 in the 54th minute on a penalty kick by Alex Wyper. The Mountain Lions were awarded a second penalty kick at the 60:03 mark and this time FMU freshman goalkeeper Jonathan Mannes stopped Wypers’ spot kick, but Wyper managed to convert the rebound into a 3-1 advantage.
Lewis Hilton and Rowe added insurance goals in the 63rd and 70th minutes respectively.
Young Harris outshot Francis Marion 25-10 and led 9-5 in corner kicks. Mannes finished with four saves, while Bradshaw recorded three stops.
Ricke, defender David Sheridan, and midfielder Gino Lucarelli all played their final match for Francis Marion. The 2015 FMU roster consisted of three seniors, two juniors, eight sophomores, and 12 freshmen.
Ricke, a three-All-Conference selection, ended his career holding the Patriots single-season (16) and career (32) records for assists. Sheridan was playing in his 69th career contest.
Young Harris (15-3-0) def. Francis Marion Univ. (11-5-2) 5-1