No. 4 Cards split weekend thrillers

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Over the weekend, the SVSU men’s soccer team won in thrilling fashion against Alderson Broaddus but fell later in the weekend to Ohio Valley University in a 1-0 thriller.

Following dominant performances against Quincy (a traditional power in the Midwest region) and Truman last week, SVSU propelled to No. 4 in the national rankings for Division II soccer. Goalkeeper Connor Keane, who allowed only one goal over the two contests, was named GLIAC Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week.

Against Alderson Broaddus, it was two goals from junior striker Michael Shaikly in a five-minute span (one in the 89th minute and the other just four minutes into overtime) that led to a stunning victory over the Battlers.

“We made a formation change later in the game and put another man up front to put a little more pressure on their back line,” Head Coach Wagstaff said. “Alderson Broaddus were very good at sitting in and making it very hard for us to them down. At the end of the day, our guys just really wanted to win the game for us.”

The SVSU offense started quickly against Alderson Broaddus with a shot from sophomore midfielder Azaad Liadi, but the attempt was saved by Battlers keeper Patrick Negele. Another shot by Shaikly on a great ball in was also saved as the SVSU offense kept pressure on Alderson Broaddus throughout the early stages of the match.

The Battlers were able to sustain some possession in the first half, but most of the chances were on Cardinal attacks.

SVSU had eight shots (three on goal) to Alderson Broaddus’ three (one on goal) in the first half. The Cards also had four corners to Alderson Broadus’ one as they appeared to outperform the Battlers, but they had nothing to show for it.

SVSU began the second half again on the attack as Shaikly had a shot blocked in the 46th minute. The Battlers responded with an attack of their own as emotions continued to rise between the two teams. A header shot by SVSU’s junior striker Chris Jacovou went wide in the 55th minute. Another Jacovou shot went wide four minutes later as SVSU continued to come close on chances. The Battlers played extremely defensive soccer throughout the match, leaving SVSU with much of the possession,but very few legitimate chances to show for it.

As SVSU continued to have much of the ball even into the second half, Alderson Broaddus stunned the Cardinals as they were the ones to break the scoreless tie in the 75th minute. Shavon John-Brown found Callum Doyle for a Battler goal. It was Doyle’s first goal of the season and looked like it would be enough to upset the highly ranked SVSU side.

A series of SVSU corners in the 84th and 85th minutes came up empty. Emotions flared on both sides for much of the second half as both teams became frustrated with their opponent and their lack of opportunities to score.

Just as the upset appeared to be complete, SVSU finally found the back of the net when an 89th minute corner kick led to a Liadi shot being blocked, but an Alderson Broaddus foul in the goalie box gave Shaikly a penalty kick with just over a minute remaining.

Shaikly buried the penalty kick on the right side of the net to tie the game. The second half came to an end seconds later, and the game went to overtime.

“I’ve had penalties before where I’ve been a lot more nervous,” Shaikly said. “For some reason, I just felt like my touch was good today. I just gave the keeper the eyes and tucked it away.”

It was Shaikly’s third goal of the young season.

“You don’t need to play the game to know the type of pressure you’d be under in the 89th minute with your team down one,” Wagstaff said. “He stepped up for it and dispatched it no problem. He showed a lot of courage and bravery to do that.”

Fortunately for SVSU, Shaikly’s day wasn’t done.

In the 94th minute, sophomore midfielder Oakley Hanger played a ball into the corner to senior forward Matt Wilson, who dribbled to the corner flag. Wilson then played it back to Shaikly, who shot a long ball that sailed all the way to the top left corner of the net, just over the outstretched arms of Negele. The goal ended the match and sealed the win for SVSU as the Cardinal bench cleared in celebration of the stunning comeback.

“I saw the opportunity to put it in the box, one of my guys was in there and it was on my left foot ,which isn’t my favored foot, so I just tried to get good technique behind it, and the next thing you know, it’s in the top corner,” Shaikly said.

Wagstaff was pleased with his entire team, and with Shaikly who, at the end of regulation, appeared to “call his shot.”

“We showed good character to come back and win it like we did,” he said. “(Shaikly) asked me just before overtime if it was a ‘Golden Goal’ overtime and I told him it was and he said, ‘I’m going to win it for you in overtime.’”

Sunday, the Cardinals fell just short against Ohio Valley by a score of 1-0. In another highly contested match featuring two unbeaten teams, a late goal proved to be the difference. In the 85th minute, Ohio Valley’s Nemanja Acimovic scored on an assist from Guillermo Segovia that gave the Fighting Scots the late lead.

SVSU managed 10 shots throughout the match, but none found the back of the net on Ohio Valley keeper Carlos Rubio. Keane made four saves in the contest. Liadi, Chris Jacovou and Matt Wilson each had two shots for the Cardinals.

SVSU begins GLIAC play next week.