LEXINGTON, Va. – Sachem Wilson tied the contest with less than two minutes left in regulation and Blessing Tahuona scored the game-winner as the Liberty Flames defeated the Robert Morris Colonials, 2-1, in overtime, Friday afternoon in the Game 1 of the 2014 Jay Sculley Memorial Tournament at VMI’s Patchin Field.
Trailing 1-0, Wilson netted his second goal of the season at 88:52 to tie the contest and send the match to overtime. Early into the first overtime, Tahuona beat the goalkeeper one-on-one in the 18-yard box to give Liberty the victory, his first goal of the year.
Liberty moves to 3-0-1 on the season. Robert Morris drops to 1-2-1 on the year. The match was the first meeting between the two schools on the soccer field.
In addition, it is the second consecutive contest for Liberty that has gone to overtime. The Flames went to overtime at Marshall this past Sunday, tying the Thundering Herd, 2-2.
Robert Morris struck for the contest’s first goal at 13:21. Forward Bruce Cullen pushed the ball deep into the left side of the 18-yard box and dropped a pass behind him to fellow forward Neco Brett. The forward’s shot found the open right side of the net for his third goal of the year and a 1-0 Colonials’ advantage.
Liberty’s best scoring chance of the opening half came during the 40th minute. Wilson picked up a loose ball and split two defenders. Gaining open space on the left side of the box, Wilson ripped a rising shot which hit the crossbar and went out of play.
The Flames closed the half with shot attempts by Bay Kurtz and Wilson. Robert Morris goalkeeper Brendan Alfrey made a diving save on Kurtz’s shot to keep the Colonial in front.
During the first 25 minutes of the second half, Liberty pressure resulted in several scoring opportunities. In the 65th minute, the Flames used two strong passes to give
Wilson an attempt at the top of the box. However, Alfery was able to make a diving save.
Tahuona came free on the left side of the 18-yard box and pushed a shot which hit the right goal post in the 70th minute. Midfielder Jovanni Chavez was able to pick up the rebound and pushed a shot from the top of the box, which Alfrey smothered to relieve pressure.
After shooting the ball just over the crossbar during the 89th minute, Wilson found the equalizer moments later. Off a corner kick, a Colonials’ defender was unable to clear and the ball deflected up into the air. Wilson pounced on the ball when it landed in the box and ripped it into the left corner to tie the game at 88:52 and sending the contest to overtime.
Less than three minutes into the first overtime session, Tahuona came up with the golden goal. Kurtz pushed the ball into the middle of the 18-yard box and slipped a pass to Tahuouna, who beat the Colonials’ goalkeeper Alfery for the 2-1 victory at 92:51.
Outshot in the first half, 7-4, Liberty finished the contest with a 20-13 advantage in shots.
Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik made four saves, including three in the first half. Alfery recorded seven saves, including six in the second.
Liberty will conclude a four-game road swing, Sunday afternoon. The Flames will face the USC Upstate Spartans in Game 3 of the Sculley Memorial Tournament. Match time at Patchin Field is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.