MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The College of Charleston men’s soccer team downed No. 40 Stanford, 2-1, in front of 1,611 fans in their opening match of the 12th annual NIKE / Aaron Olitsky Memorial Classic at Patriots Point on Friday evening.
Ralphie Lundy (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) buried a pair of penalty kicks to give CofC the win while the Cougar defense stood up Stanford’s high-octane attack.
“We started great and we connected passes right through them,” said head coach Ralph Lundy. “I felt a goal coming. Ralphie (Lundy) played the pass through to Sean (de Silva) and the keeper took him out in the penalty area. Ralphie buried the penalty kick. Stanford later turned the momentum completely around. They came at us in the last 20 minutes of the first half and it was tough. We held on. Kees (Heemskerk) made some great saves. He came out and cleared some balls off the line. We withstood that barrage.
“The second half was more even. We stepped up, started winning headers, picked up second balls and mounted our own attack. We had our chances. Our team responded at halftime. They were on balls much quicker than we were in the second part of the first half. We responded, adjusted and came through.
“You win on D (defense) first. The crowd was unreal. The students are amazing with that gigantic banner that says, “Together We Are 12.” I think the team showed great character and strength tonight. I was very pleased. It started with Kees (Heemskerk) in the goal and whatever four defenders were in there, especially Tam (McGowan) and (Shawn) Ferguson in the middle.”
Lundy’s first penalty kick came in the 15th minute after he had sprung Sean de Silva (Port of Spain, Trinidad) alone on goal with a through-ball and Cardinal keeper Drew Hutchins had no choice but to tackle de Silva in the box, granting the Cougars the penalty kick. Lundy crushed the ball into the upper-left corner where Hutchins had no play at it.
“I just had a feeling that he (Hutchins) wouldn’t be able to get to it if I knocked it in the way I wanted to,” said Lundy. “I went with my first instinct and placed it where I wanted to.”
The Cougars were the more disciplined team for the entirety of the match and Hutchins’ foul was one of the seven the Cardinal committed before CofC committed one. Stanford committed 13 fouls compared to the Cougars’ seven after full time.
After the CofC goal, Stanford’s offense came to life and pushed CofC into its defensive third for much of the remaining first period. In the 28th minute, they broke through when Austin Meyer put a low cross through the box from the left side. Adam Jahn was on the receiving end and scored inside the right-hand post on his first touch.
Stanford looked to take a lead in the late moments of the first half when a Bobby Edwards shot got by Cougar keeper Kees Heemskerk (Zaandam, Netherlands) but CofC defenseman Tam McGowan (Glasgow, Scotland) retreated and cleared the ball to safety just before it crossed the goal line.
The teams then played an extremely physical but scoreless second half which was contained mostly in the central third with the teams exchanging runs at each other.
In the 66th minute, Eric Fornell (Daniel Island, S.C.) made a long run onto a ball hit into the box and nudged it past a charging Hutchins but a Stanford defender got to the ball in the same fashion McGowan had for CofC.
Less than four minutes into the overtime period, Lundy sent a free kick into the box where Shawn Ferguson (Rock Hill, S.C.) was tackled from behind warranting a second penalty kick. Lundy again stepped to the ball but this time went to his right side and netted it for the game winner.
“It was a huge moment,” said Ralphie Lundy. “Our team worked and fought hard to stay even with Stanford and to keep us in the game. I knew I had to bury it and my instinct was to go right.”
The Cougars end the NIKE / Aaron Olitsky Memorial Classic against No. 39 Dayton on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 2:30 p.m.