Men's Soccer Secures Undefeated SAA Regular Season with 3-2 Overtime Victory at Berry

Men's Soccer Secures Undefeated SAA Regular Season with 3-2 Overtime Victory at Berry

The Oglethorpe men's soccer team secured its first-ever undefeated trip through the SAA regular season schedule Saturday afternoon with a 3-2 win over Berry in Mount Berry, Georgia, that took two periods of overtime to decide. Freshman forward Gabe Alvarez scored a couple of goals on the day, including the game-winner in the 109th minute, just 80 seconds before the game would've been declared a tie. The victory improved the team to 6-4-3 on the season overall. They finish the SAA regular season with a 6-0-1 mark.

The game got off to an outstanding start for the Petrels, as they got on the board in the sixth minute. Alvarez scored off a free kick to give the visitors an early 1-0 advantage. That proved to be the only goal of a fairly even half. Both teams fired five shots and put two on goal, and Oglethorpe junior goalkeeper Luke Whelan made a pair of stops to preserve the 1-0 advantage.

The Vikings equalized the contest in the 57th minute, but the Petrels took their lead right back less than 10 minutes later. The Petrels won a penalty kick in the 63rd minute, sending sophomore midfielder Topher Marshall striding to the spot. He calmly put it away to give Oglethorpe a 2-1 lead.

Berry came in search of a tying goal, outshooting the Petrels 9-5 over the course of the second half. They found it in the 86th minute, just over 4:30 from the full-time whistle, and sent the game to overtime tied 2-2.

It was the Petrels who saw the better of the play during the extra periods, though. They outshot the Vikings 5-0 in the first period and 4-3 in the second. They were unable to nab a game-winner heading into the game's final moments, however, making it look as though it would end in a draw. Alvarez found the back of the net for his golden goal with just 1:20 to play, though, giving the Petrels their sixth win of the season.

The Petrels outshot Berry 19-17 over the course of the game, including an 11-8 mark in shots on goal. Berry took five corner kicks to Oglethorpe's four. 

Whelan finished the contest with six saves on eight shots faced. Marshall fired seven shots and put four on goal while Alvarez recorded four shots and put three on target.

"This was a very good team win," said Oglethorpe head coach Jon Akin. "The guys hung in there after a couple of Berry comebacks and were able to come away with the victory. This is our first-ever undefeated conference season, and I'm very pleased with how we responded and took care of business in the league after a very tough non-conference schedule. After tomorrow's game, will now look forward to hosting the SAA Tournament, which will start next weekend."

The Petrels have one more regular season game left, as they'll head up I-85 to Lawrenceville, Georgia, to take on Georgia Gwinnett Sunday at 7 p.m. After that, they'll host No. 8 seed Hendrix in the first round of the SAA playoffs Saturday, Oct. 29, at noon from the Oglethorpe Track and Field. If they win that game, they'll host the SAA championship round, with the semifinals Friday, Nov. 4, and the championship game Sunday, Nov. 6.