LEXINGTON, Va. – Backed by senior goalkeeper Greg O'Connell's season-high seven saves and a brilliant defensive effort from the Hawks' back line, the Saint Joseph's men's soccer squad battled VMI to a scoreless draw at Patchin Field on Saturday afternoon. The Hawks now move to 2-1-2 on the season while VMI stands at 0-2-2.
Saint Joseph's outshot VMI 30-14 on the day, led by senior midfielder Matt Crawford's career-high 12 shots and redshirt freshman forward Jarod Ramses' six shots. The Hawks landed 10 of those shots on goal, led by Crawford's career-high six.
The Hawks were aggressive on the offensive end in the first half, outshooting the Keydets 9-2. SJU went on to own a 12-8 edge in shots in the second half and increased the pressure in the final 15 minutes of regulation as Crawford (76', 90') and freshman midfielder Aidan Watkins (88') forced VMI goalkeeper Jon Harrington to make a trio of saves to keep the match scoreless.
VMI had a look at an open net in the 85th minute, but senior defender Ben Zambetti deflected the shot from going in.
In the first overtime, O'Connell was called upon to make a pair of stops (93', 95') on shots from VMI's David Wright. Freshman midfielder Ritchie Barry took a hard shot on net in the 98th minute, but Harrington made the save.
In the second overtime, Barry, Crawford, and Ramses blasted a trio of shots, all wide of the frame, before VMI's Wright once again put the pressure on O'Connell, but O'Connell made his sixth stop of the day to keep the match scoreless with 6:46 to play.
That same Hawk trio would again look to break through late into the second overtime, as Crawford (107') and Barry (108') forced Harrington into back-to-back saves and Ramses' sixth shot of the day was blocked by VMI's defensive unit.
With 30 seconds to play, VMI's Cooper Duplantis made one last attempt for the Keydets, but O'Connell stifled the shot, his seventh save of the day, for the final play of the match.
O'Connell (2-1-1) made seven saves in his first shutout of the season, while the back line of Zambetti (110:00), junior defender Eddie McCusker (110:00), freshman defender Daniel Morales (110:00), and senior defender Kevin Lockhart (97:00) played lights out on the back line and was credited with a team save in the 85th minute of regulation.
Crawford and Watkins added full-match efforts from the midfield.
Saint Joseph's returns to action at Sacred Heart (0-4-0) this Tuesday, September 12. Kickoff at Park Avenue Field in Fairfield, Conn. is slated for 4:00 p.m.
MATCH NOTES: Saturday's match marked the second consecutive overtime match for the Crimson and Gray and the third in the last four contests... Senior goalkeeper Greg O'Connell's first shutout of the season gives him six for his career, which ties with Bobby Edwards (2014-16) for ninth all-time in SJU's program history for career shutouts... The Hawks utilized eight subs, with redshirt freshman forward Jarod Ramses seeing a career-high 59 minutes off the bench... The Hawks now move to 1-0-1 all-time against VMI after facing the Keydets for the first time since the inaugural meeting in 2002.