John Robert Plyler Saves the Day as Soccer Upsets Roanoke College in a Shootout
SALEM, VA - After two games and 220 minutes of scoreless soccer against Roanoke College this week, it took a shootout to determine who would advance to the semi-finals of the ODAC Tournament. Hampden-Sydney got the best of the Maroons in the shootout, making three of their penalty kick attempts while Roanoke made only two. The game will go down as a tie for the win-loss record. H-SC, the #7 seed, will play Washington & Lee, the #6 seed, on Wednesday in Lexingon, VA, at a time to be determined. W&L upset #3 seed Virginia Wesleyan 1-0 earlier in the day, and earlier this season, the Tigers beat the Generals 1-0 in overtime at Hampden-Sydney.
Roanoke's Matt Standley took the first PK for Roanoke and made it while Bryan Wharton (Glen Allen, VA/Deep Run) had his shot saved. Jason Ryan made his attempt to put the Maroons up 2-0, butAndrew Berg (Aberdeen, Scotland/International School of Aberdeen) found the back of the net to make it 2-1 in the shootout. John Robert Plyler (Charlotte, NC/Myers Park) made the plays of the day that won that sent the Tigers to the semi-finals as he saved the next two shots by Andrew Markey and Drew Claytor while Gregorio Pacheco (Montclair, NJ/Contclair) and Scott Cutler (Williamsburg, VA/Jamestown) scored to give the Tigers a 3-2 advantage after four kicks. Needing a successful PK attempt to force H-SC to take their fifth PK, Brooks Allison sent his shot wide left to advance the Tigers to the ODAC semi-finals.
The game was hard fought and a very physical game. A critical mental error on Roanoke's Michael Stark proved to be a difference maker in the game. At the 40:41 mark, Stark was red carded, which resulted in his ejection from the contest and the Maroons having to play a man down for the remainder of the contest. Stark was a significant loss as he is one of the best defenders in all of Division III, was an All-American last year and will likely be again this year, and led Roanoke in goals and points scored.
Roanoke came out in the second half fired up, was extremely aggressive like Hampden-Sydney was in the first half, and did not look like they were playing short one player. Despite the increase in offensive intensity, neither team was able to register a goal, although Wharton had a beautiful strike on a free kick go off the post and Roanoke had a flurry where they had two shots barely miss. The backline ofSam Turner (Richmond, VA/Benedictine), Pacheco, Jackson Parker (Raleigh, NC/Sanderson), andCurran Blackwell (Wilson, NC/Greenfield) was a huge factors in the game as they allowed few scoring chances and played calm and poised under pressure when the Maroons did threaten to score.
Hampden-Sydney has gotten hot at the right time of the season and are undefeated in their last five games, boasting a record of 3-0-2. The game marked the third time the Maroons and Tigers have met in the ODAC Tournament and the first time H-SC has come out on top of Roanoke. The first meeting occurred in the 1994 ODAC Championship game that RC won 2-0, and the second was two years ago as Roanoke won 2-1 in the semifinals in the final seconds after a controversial referee ruling on a penalty kick earlier in the second half.
H-SC makes their third straight trip to the ODAC Semifinals. The semi-final game vs. W&L will be on Wednesday with game time yet to be determined, but please make sure to check the athletics website at www.hsc.edu/athletics.html for updates.