GREENVILLE, S.C. - Despite tying the game at 2-2 with under 10 minutes left to play, the VMI men's soccer team allowed a Furman goal in the 82nd minute to drop a close match to the host Paladins by a 3-2 score Saturday night at Stone Soccer Stadium in Greenville, South Carolina.
VMI sophomore Grant Austin scored his first goal of the season at the 80:38 mark off an assist from Tyler Colgan to knot the score at 2-2 in an effort to send the game to overtime. Furman's Lewis Hawke, however, had other plans as he scored his second goal of the game off a Bobby Edet deflected shot as the Paladins stormed the net 24 seconds after Austin's goal.
"Despite the loss, I feel this was a huge step forward for our program," said VMI head coach Michael Bonelli. "It takes time to learn how to win and I believe this is a performance we can build on, and will help us earn future results. We are improving on a daily basis and as a staff we are very proud of the team of the progress we have made."
In a game that saw Furman outshoot the Keydets by a 22-6 margin, VMI kept the match close throughout. After the Paladins jumped ahead early in the game off an Evan De Ycaza goal in the 10th minute, VMI responded midway through the half as Colgan scored his second goal of the year on a header that he put on a long cross from Jackson Rowady. Both teams went scoreless the remainder of the half to go into the break with a 1-1 tie.
Ten minutes into the second half, Furman's Hawke converted a penalty kick that resulted from a VMI foul within the goalbox. The teams battled equally the remainder of regulation before the frenzy in the final 10 minutes.
VMI's Austin and Andrew Pope led the Keydets with two shot attempts while Colgan and Sam Moffatt each contributed one. Keeper Robert Allen picked up the loss despite a great effort in the box with seven saves on the night in a complete game.
The Keydets return to action Tuesday in a league rubber match with ETSU at home. The first kick is slated for a 4 p.m. start at Patchin Field.