The Oglethorpe men's soccer team came back from two goals down Sunday to beat Rhodes, 5-2. The Petrels scored three goals in the final 20 minutes of the first half, turning a likely 2-0 halftime deficit into a 3-2 halftime lead.
The game started out like it would be the capper to a very bad weekend for the Petrels. After losing to Hendrix 1-0 on Friday via a late goal, the Petrels fell behind Rhodes by two goals in the first 26 minutes of the game on Senior Day. But they came out blazing in the final 20 minutes of the half, turning a two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead.
The comeback got started in the 34th minute when forward Carlos Gaston finished midfielder Sean King's long pass into the box, cutting the Rhodes lead in half. After that first goal, the Petrels relentlessly attacked the Rhodes goal, seemingly attacking in waves.
The Petrels tied the game in the 40th minute, a mere six minutes after being down 2-0. Senior midfielder Ben Robertson, who was honored in the Senior Day festivities before the game, unleashed a wicked long-range shot on the Rhodes goalkeeper. The keeper was able to somehow make the save, but Robertson followed his shot in, and the Rhodes goalkeeper saved it right into his path. Robertson slotted home the rebound to tie the game.
Oglethorpe probably would've been happy with a tie game going into halftime, given the circumstances, but they were gifted another opportunity in the 43rd minute when Gaston was dragged down in the penalty area by a Rhodes defender. The defender picked up a yellow card and Oglethorpe was awarded a penalty kick. King stepped up and buried it and the Petrels had a 3-2 lead.
In the second half, Oglethorpe expanded on their play at the end of the first. They got the goal that probably served as the back-breaker in the 53rd when midfielder Nick Williamson flicked along a long ball that had been sent toward the box. Gaston headed it past the keeper to give the Petrels a 4-2 lead.
They added one last goal in the 86th minute when senior defender Dustin Hoeppner knocked home the first goal of his career on Senior Day. The assist came from forward Jakub Madej. The goal gave the Petrels their final 5-2 tally.
The Petrels outshot the visiting Lynx 25-7, and put 13 shots on goal to Rhodes' five.
Before the game, seniors Frank Petersen, Ben Robertson, Taylor Spear, Dustin Hoeppner and AJ Romine were honored for their Oglethorpe careers on and off the field. Hoeppner scored his first career goal in the game and Romine, the captain of the reserve team, made his first career appearance for the Petrels' senior squad. Robertson also bagged a goal on Senior Day, while Petersen recorded three saves in the effort.
The win improve Oglethorpe to 8-2 on the season, 2-1 in SAA play. They will next be in action Saturday, when they travel to Danville, Ky., to take on the Colonels of Centre. The game will kick-off at approximately 7 p.m., 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women's game.