STATESBORO, Ga. – Jason Waterman netted two first half goals, but a golden goal by Matt Wescoe late in the second overtime made the difference as the 20th-ranked Elon men’s soccer team battled to a 4-3 win over Georgia Southern in Southern Conference action Friday night. The Phoenix (9-3-2, 3-1 SoCon) was able to pull off a victory over the upset-minded Eagles (2-10-1, 0-2-1 SoCon) at the first night game hosted at Eagle Field.
This was the Elon’s third straight match of extra time and fifth overall on the season improving to 3-1-1 in those games.
The bench for Elon was key in tonight’s contest as Waterman added his first goals of the 2012 campaign. The sophomore forward added his first strike in the 23rd minute after a run through the midfield and where he was found by Chris Thomas at the penalty spot.
Three minutes later, Waterman would add his second score of the contest in the 26th minute on another Thomas helper as the Bloomington, Ind., native dribbled up the right flank and received the pass across the face of the net for a empty net goal giving Elon a 2-0 advantage.
The Eagles would respond quickly however with their own goal in the same time frame cutting their deficit to 2-1 on a Drew Ruggles score.
Georgia Southern eventually hit the equalizer in the 67th minute on a goal from Hunter Norton, who shot it from seven yards inside the box.
Over the next 20 minutes, both teams could not gain an advantage until Thomas found the net in the 88th minute of play. Thomas fired his 17th strike of the season on a rebound off the crossbar from a Gabe Latigue free kick.
With just under a minute to go, the Eagles would not go away as they quickly tied it off the foot of Witt Carlisle. Carlisle played the ball off the cross of an Eagle corner and sent the match into extra time.
Georgia Southern had a couple of shots in the 92nd and 93rd minute to win the contest, but both attempts were either turned away or corralled by keeper Nathan Dean. The game would move on into a second extra session.
Both teams were unable to get on target in the first six minutes of the second overtime with shots going wide or blocked by defenders. Latigue’s attempt in the 106th minute was blocked out of bounds giving Elon a corner.
After the ball was put into play, Wescoe headed it in after a bounce within the box in the 107th minute giving the junior midfield his second game-winner of the season.
The Phoenix outshot the Eagles, 22-18, and had 11 shots on goal. Dean played every minute between the posts and had seven saves in the effort. Eagles’ keeper Neal Bates also corralled the ball seven times.
Elon will host the College of Charleston on its home pitch at Rudd Field on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Kick off is slated to begin at 7 p.m.