NEW LONDON, Conn.-Junior John Tarzian scored with 7:53 to go in double overtime and the Coast Guard men's soccer team defeated Springfield 2-1 in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference Tournament first round match-up on Tuesday night at the CGA Track and Field Complex.
After a Springfield foul gave Coast Guard a free kick from a little more than 20 yards out the Bears were able to net the game-winner. Senior John Rendon played a ball into the box and Tarzian banged home the header to give the Bears their second overtime victory against the Pride in the last five days.
Coast Guard opened the scoring in the 13th minute to give the Bears a 1-0 lead with 32:34 to play in the first half. Senior Joe Bodzewski took a pass from Rendon at the edge of the 6-yard box and fired a shot into the far side of the net for his third goal of the season. The goal was set up when junior Jonathan Ray sent a long pass through and Epperly was able to gather it before it could sneak across the end line.
The first chance of the match came in the seventh minute following a Coast Guard foul to give Springfield a free kick less than five feet from the edge of the 18-yard box. Senior Danny Amato sent a screaming shot on goal but junior keeper Richie Burns made a leaping save to deflect the attempt over the crossbar.
The Bears had an opportunity shortly after. Joe Bodzewski sent a hard shot from just outside the box but the attempt missed over the crossbar and the game remained scoreless.
The game got especially chippy in the final 10 minutes of the first half with a card being issued and nine fouls being called. In the 41st minute, with the half winding down the Bears had a terrific chance following a Springfield foul giving Coast Guard a free kick from the penalty line extended. Rendon sent in a kick but Springfield was able to head it away and escape danger.
Springfield came dangerously close to netting the equalizer in the 52nd minute. Following a cross sent in from the far side of the field, Amato sent on a header from point blank range but right into the arms of Burns who made the stop.
The Pride would come up with another good chance in the 63rd minute off of a throw in but junior Kevin Nowak's header went almost straight up in the air and Burns was able to snag it and avoid any further Springfield opportunities.
Coast Guard nearly missed on a chance to double their lead in the 69th minute when Epperly took a pass from Rendon on a fast break. He lined up a strong shot but the attempt would go wide of goal and the lead would remain at 1-0 in favor of the Bears.
Following a controversial foul call in the Coast Guard end, Springfield got a free kick from 28 yards out but senior Ryan Malone sent a ball well high over the cross bar.
Springfield would finally tie the match in the 79th minute after a second consecutive corner kick. Amato sent in a high-arcing ball and Malone was on the other end to send in a powerful header to knot the game at 1-1 with 11:09 to play.
The Pride nearly missed a go-ahead goal just over a minute later when Amato found himself alone in the box but he put too much on his shot and the ball went over the crossbar, keeping the game tied at 1-1 with under 10 minutes to go.
Following an eruption by the Springfield contingent the Bears had silenced the opposing crowd when Bodzewski delivered a perfect ball into the box with under two minutes to play but Rendon's header hit off the crossbar.
The first overtime was an exciting affair but there were few quality chances to show for it and the game progressed to a second overtime with the score 1-1 still.
Springfield falls to 13-6-0 on the season and will await word from the ECAC on whether they receive a post-season bid or not.
With the win Coast Guard improves to 9-7-2 and will return to action on Saturday, November 9th when they travel to MIT to take on the top-seeded Engineers at 10:30 am.
Head Coach Chris Parsons