Men’s soccer conquers Crusaders in a captivating overtime victory
By Michael Boncardo, Staff Writer
A 95th minute clutch overtime goal by junior Henry Smith finally brought an end to a heated matchup between the Gettysburg men’s soccer team and the Susquehanna Crusaders this Tuesday. It was the second golden goal of the season for the Bullets, who also worked overtime to beat Ursinus College 2-1 on Sept. 19.
Gettysburg bore the brunt of Susquehanna’s offense in the first half. The crusaders outshot the Bullets 19-13 and 10-3 in the first portion of regulation play. However, sophomore goalkeeper Max Karen made a pair of solid saves in the opening period, and the game remained scoreless after 45 minutes of play.
Karen definitely made his debut appearance of the season with style, making a career-high six saves for the Bullets. Two of these came in the final three minutes of regulation time, after junior KJ DePontes forced the extra session when he struck in the 84th minute for his fourth goal of the season. DePontes also assisted on Smith’s game-winner, and shares that the win was a pivotal one for the Bullets.
“The game was very tense as we had previously lost three straight. We saw this as a must win if we wanted to get out of our slump and gain some confidence for our next conference game against Dickinson. When we equalized late it was more a sense of relief since we knew that we would have enough momentum not only to win the game, but to carry over with us into the Dickinson game,” Depontes shared.
The Crusaders scored on their first push of the second half, leaving the Bullets trailing 1-0 less than five minutes into the period. Susquehanna’s Samuel Tana converted off an assist from Nick Fecci, opening a scoring gap that would not be closed until the end of the 4th period. Although the Bullets outshot Susquehanna 9-8 in the half, the Crusaders prevented Gettysburg from taking a single shot on goal until DePontes scored the equalizer with only minutes remaining.
Karen saved a header off a corner kick in the 87th minute before collecting another stop in the closing seconds of regulation to send the Bullets to their fourth overtime of the season.
Junior Henry Smith, already the co-leader of assists in division III, displayed his scoring capabilities midway through the 10-minute overtime. Smith accepted a feed from DePontes and delivered his fifth goal of the year.
The Bullets offense has made some major gains this year, as Depontes describes: “This year our offense has stepped up and in many ways has performed better than last season. Last year we failed to create scoring opportunities against the better teams in our conference. This year we have started to produce against the better teams, including scoring three goals against first place Haverford.”
The Bullets resume their Centennial Conference bid on Saturday, when they visit Dickinson College at 6 p.m.