LAST MINUTE GOAL STUNS EMU; TIGERS ADVANCE TO ODAC SEMIS
(October 28, 2007) HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA–Tigers' junior midfielder Jason Powell (Marietta, GA/Pope) scored on a brilliant volley with 0:48 remaining in the match to cap a stunning comeback and help No. 2 seed Hampden-Sydney advance to the ODAC Tournament semifinals with a 2-1 victory over seventh-seeded Eastern Mennonite. The Tigers (11-5-3), who trailed 1-0 after the Royals struck in the 69th minute of play, scored twice in the final eight minutes to give head coach Josh Laux his first win over Eastern Mennonite (4-10-2) in his Hampden-Sydney coaching career. It also marks the first time the Tigers have advanced to the final four in Laux's tenure.
Neither team was able to create a dangerous scoring opportunity in a scoreless first half, although the Tigers enjoyed a slim advantage in shots at 6-4.
The action picked up dramatically in the second half, however, with both sides campaigning hard to break the scoreless tie. Eastern Mennonite earned an excellent chance with 39:00 remaining, but Tigers' freshman goalkeeper John Robert Plyler (Charlotte, NC/Myers Park) saved a shot off the foot of Royals' forward Junior Kamandua from point blank range to deny the scoring opportunity.
Plyler turned away another Kamandua blast three minutes later and a header from EMU's Cory Parsons with 34:55 remaining to keep Hampden-Sydney in the match.
The Royals finally struck and took a 1-0 lead with 21:24 to play when midfielder Regulo Cardoso put a ball across the box and to the foot of Charles Metz IV, who hammered a shot past Plyler from just four yards out.
Hampden-Sydney desperately pushed forward in the final 20 minutes in search of the equalizer and found success in the 83rd minute on a beautiful effort by junior midfielder Jason Butler (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin). Butler trapped a Royals' clearance with his chest, touched the ball once to the top of the box and drilled a rising shot into the upper right edge of the goal to tie the match at 1-1.
The game appeared to be headed into overtime until the Tigers found magic with under a minute to play. Senior midfielder Greg Danahy (Roanoke, VA/Hidden Valley) drove a service into the corner of the box, where a streaking Powell accelerated just enough to clip the ball in the air with his right foot and direct it to the backside of charging EMU keeper Jackson Maust. The ball rolled slowly into the net, setting off a celebration and advancing Hampden-Sydney into the semifinals next weekend.
An aggressive Eastern Mennonite side out-shot the Tigers 15-14 for the match, but Plyler came up huge with six big saves to help Hampden-Sydney to their eleventh victory of the year.
The Tigers will play No. 3 seed Washington and Lee next Friday at a site and time to be determined. The Generals outlasted sixth-seeded Lynchburg 2-0 on Saturday afternoon to claim their spot in the ODAC's final four.