The Oglethorpe men's soccer team scored a pair of goals in the second half Saturday afternoon at a steaming hot Oglethorpe Track and Field, turning the tables on the Centre Colonels and earning a victory over their SAA rivals in the conference opener. The win improved the Stormy Petrels to 6-3 overall and 1-0 in SAA play, and extended the program's unbeaten streak in regular-season conference play to 21.
Centre took a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute, but the tenor of the game changed five minutes later. Colonel starting goalkeeper Tate Johnson took down a Petrel attacker on a clear breakaway, resulting in a red card for Johnson due to his denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. The Petrels won a free kick about 19 yards from goal on the foul, and junior defender Sebastian Carlson stepped up and hit a wicked, curling shot past new Centre goalkeeper Haydon Korfhage to tie the score up in the 34th minute.
The Colonels got into the halftime break with the score still 1-1, but it seemed only a matter of time until the Petrels took advantage of their extended opportunity with an extra man. They did just that in the 50th minute. Sophomore forward Abraham Lopez kept a wayward cross in play and fed the ball to senior midfielder Andrew Grodhaus at the top of the box. Grodhaus' shot ricocheted off a defender in front and into the back of the net, giving the Petrels the lead.
Finding themselves down a goal, the Colonels had to get forward and take some chances despite playing with 10 men. The Petrels took advantage of it in the 66th minute, taking complete control of the game. Sophomore defender Stephen Summerow took a pass down the left flank and fired a low ball toward the far post. Junior forward Matt Ward ran onto it and calmly finished past Korfhage, giving his team a 3-1 lead with less than 25 minutes to go.
Centre had a chance late to get back into the game, as a Petrel giveaway in the back in the 81st minute gave the Colonels a chance to get back to within a goal. However, the Colonels' shot safely sailed over the crossbar.
Freshman goalkeeper Ulises Rodriguez recorded six saves on the afternoon for the home side.
The Petrels outshot their opponent 14-12 overall, with an even 7-7 spread in shots on goal.
Oglethorpe will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 5, when they travel to Tennessee to take on Sewanee in their first conference road game of the year. That game is set to kick off at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.