Spartanburg, S.C. – Stetson's Gonzalo De Mujica scored on a penalty kick goal with 47 seconds to play in the first overtime to lift Stetson to a 3-2 victory over USC Upstate in A-Sun men's soccer action Sunday afternoon at County University Soccer Stadium.
The penalty was granted after Upstate goalkeeper Jason McCabe (Irmo, S.C.) came off his line to run down a loose ball in the box. He collided with De Mujica while going for the ball and the referee granted Stetson a penalty kick. McCabe, who played a tremendous game in goal for the Spartans, guessed right on the kick, but the ball found the back of the net just out of reach of a diving McCabe.
Upstate fell to 5-7-1 overall and 2-3-1 in the A-Sun, putting a damper on the Senior Day festivities as nine seniors were honored prior to the start of the game. The Spartans will travel to Macon, Ga., Wednesday night for a key conference match. It is the next-to-last game of the season for Upstate. Stetson improved to 5-5-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the A-Sun.
Stetson struck early in the game to open a 1-0 lead. On a corner kick, the Hatters played a short ball to Jonathan Mendoza. He played a pass to Steven Saballos who back-heeled the ball to Luis Ocejo who pounded a shot into the top of the net just 3:24 into the match.
Upstate tied the game with a goal in the 16th-minute when Dave Musambi (Ottawa, Ontario) blocked a clearing kick and played a one touch pass to Timo Foerster (Oberkirk, Germany) on the elft side of the field. He played a cross to Jan Wienhoit (Bocholt, Germany) who headed the ball over Stetson goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl and into the net.
Upstate took a 2-1 lead with a goal in the 22nd-minute when Foerster picked up his second assist of the game. He played a long 40-yard cross from the left to the right, finding a wide open Derek Dearmond (Houston, Texas) six yards out on the right side of the box. He took the ball out of the air and pounded a shot into the net for a 2-1 Upstate lead.
McCabe (Irmo, S.C.) came up with a huge save in the 34th-minute. After an Upstate foul, Mendoza took the free kick from 25 yards out. He pounded a shot that glanced off the Upstate wall, changing the direction of the kick. McCabe changed direction and made the diving save to his right.
In a half that had tremendous ebb and flow, Stetson tied the match with a little more than six minutes to play in the half. After Spartan Nathan Perschke (Spring, Texas) made a tremendous defensive play to kick away a Hatter cross, Mendoza took the corner kick and played a line drive to the near post. Eli Beates was there to put the shot into the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2.
The teams went into the intermission tied at 2-2. Stetson led Upstate in shots, 11-2. McCabe made five saves, while the Spartans scored on both of their shots.
McCabe made another tremendous save in the 57th-minute when Stetson played a give and go in the box and Kai Eckenrode pounded a shot from 10 yards out that McCabe saved. McCabe made another key save in the 68th-minute when Ryan Asare-Bediako fired a shot from four yards out just outside the left post. McCabe made a diving save to his right to keep the ball out of the net.
Upstate dodged a couple of bullets with under 10 minutes to play when Mendoza narrowly missed two goals. He fired a shot that hit the crossbar and another that hit the post, but neither fell in to keep the match at 2-2.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the final minutes of regulation, sending the game into overtime. In OT, the period looked to be coming to a conclusion until the penalty kick was granted for Stetson.
McCabe played an unbelievable game for Upstate. He made 11 saves on the day, seven diving to his left or right to prevent goals. Stetson took 28 shots on the day, putting 14 on goal. Upstate totaled six shots, placing three on frame.