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King Snares Career High 12 Saves, But Men's Soccer Lets Lead Slip in 2-1 Overtime Loss at Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va.—An energized UMBC men’s soccer team outplayed 2007 national semifinalist Virginia Tech, but came up on the short end of a 2-1 overtime decision to the host Hokies.
The Retrievers’ winless streak has reached four as UMBC fell to the .500 mark at 5-5-2. VT improved to 5-7-1.
UMBC dominated the first half, creating four outstanding scoring opportunities, but they could not cash in. Finally, in the 63rd minute, freshman forward Andrew Bulls (Millersville, Md./McDonough) got on the board to snap a scoreless streak of 392 consecutive minutes. Senior midfielder Kevin Gnatiko (Montgomery Village, Md./Watkins Mill) played a short corner kick to senior back L.J. Pijnenburg. Pijnenburg’s driving serve got beyond the Hokie defense, and Bulls flicked it in on a header for his team-high sixth goal of the season.
But the Hokies awakened and after UMBC netminder Steve King (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) made a one-on-one save in the 68th minute, Tech tied the game in unusual fashion in the 77th minute. UMBC failed to clear the ball in their zone and a Hokie player got behind the defense as an arcing ball was played into him. King collided with him in the box and the hosts were awarded a penalty kick. King made the initial save on James Gilson’s attempt, diving to his right to make the stop, but Gilson pounced on the rebound and knocked it inside the far right post.
The game went to overtime and UMBC fired the first salvo as Gnatiko’s 23-yard shot just sailed over the crossbar in the first minute. But on the next possession, UMBC mishandled the ball deep in their defensive end and Gilson stole the ball and his cross to a wide open Brendan Dunn was headed in past King from close range to end the contest.
UMBC fell to 1-2-2 in overtime this season.
King was brilliant, coming up with a career high 12 saves, including a pair in the first half from point-blank range. But the Retrievers doubled Tech’s good scoring chances in the first 45 minutes, highlighted by Bulls’ shot off the left post in the 18th minute.
Sophomore Levi Houapeu (Germantown, Md./Watkins Mill) broke in alone in the 50th minute, but his angled shot went just past the far right post.
UMBC registered a season-high 22 shots and outshot an opponent (22-20) for the first time this season.
The Retrievers return to conference play on Saturday as they visit high-scoring Albany.