WILMINGTON, N.C. – A golden goal in the 92nd minute by Ohio State gave the Elon University men’s soccer team a 1-0 setback to the Buckeyes in the Phoenix’s finale on Sunday, Sept. 7, at the UNC Wilmington Courtyard Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach Classic.
The loss dropped the Phoenix to 2-2 while Ohio State improved to 1-0-3 with its first win of the season. OSU’s Joao Ehlers had the lone and golden goal for the Buckeyes in the maroon and gold’s third consecutive match of a 1-0 score.
The opening stanza saw both teams trying to win the possession battle and outmaneuver each other in the middle of the field. Neither team could break through with any scoring opportunities, as both squads were sound defensively.
OSU put pressure on the Phoenix early in the match in the sixth minute. Keeper Nathan Dean blocked a shot by the Buckeye’s Kyle Culbertson leading to a corner kick. On the following set piece, a header attempt by OSU went high to give the ball back to Elon.
In the 26th minute, Elon avoided a scare as OSU’s Konrad Kucharski raced down the pitch on an Elon turnover a fired a strike towards Dean from 10-15 yards away. The senior netminder was able to knock it out of play and prevented a potential 1-0 deficit to the Buckeyes.
Elon’s best chance to score in the first period came in the 41st minute. The Phoenix’s Luis Argudo pushed the ball from 20 yards from the top left of the box, where OSU’s goalkeeper Alex Ivanov made the stop.
Going into the half, both teams had five shots in the first period, but OSU had two on goal compared to just one for the Phoenix. Elon was also blanked in corners while Ohio State had four.
The Phoenix was the more aggressive team coming out into the second period. Elon’s Jason Waterman had an attempt nearly go through from the left side of the goal in the 46th minute, but Ivanov was able to push the ball out of play. The save however gave Elon its first corner kick of the afternoon, but the Phoenix could not convert after a header attempt from Waterman went wide.
Elon kept attacking the Buckeyes on the offensive end, earning two more corners in the 51st and 54th minutes of action. The Phoenix could not convert on either set piece and capture that elusive first goal.
A lighting delay in the 55th minute forced a stoppage in play and the teams to evacuate the field. After nearly an hour of wait time, both squads resumed play hoping to cash in on the go-ahead goal.
Ohio State nearly took the lead in the 72nd minute as Dean saved a Danny Jensen shot off a Buckeye corner kick. The ball was knocked back into play just in front of the goal with Austin Bergstrom having a clear shot, but Elon’s Taylor Adler was able to knock it out of play. Jensen lined up another attempt just a few seconds later, but Dean was able to corral it.
Elon had another great look for the first score of the match inside the 81s minute. Chad Craig lined up a shot towards the back right bottom corner that Ivanov just knocked out of play. The Phoenix could not take advantage of the preceding corner kick as Ohio State defended the play well.
The match would head into extra time scoreless, but two minutes into overtime Ohio State would capitalize on Ehler’s golden goal. The shot from 18 yards away deflected off an Elon defender and trickled into the net to seal the victory for the Buckeyes.
Elon outshot the Buckeyes, 14-10, but Ohio State had five on frame compared to four for the Phoenix. The maroon and gold also trailed in corners, 8-4. Dean played every minute in goal and had four saves, while Waterman had a team-high six shots for the match.
The Phoenix returns to host Florida International at Rudd Field on Wednesday, Sept 10, in the regular-season home-opener for the maroon and gold. That match is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.