PHILADELPHIA – The Minutemen scored the late equalizer in the 85th minute of regulation as the Saint Joseph's men's soccer squad battled to a 2-2 draw with UMass in Atlantic 10 action on Wednesday evening on Sweeney Field. The Hawks now stand at 3-6-4 overall (1-1-1 A-10) while the Minutemen move to 8-2-3 (2-0-1 A-10). With the point, SJU now ranks eighth in league standings with four points.
"This was a great A-10 match tonight," said head coach Don D'Ambra following the match. "UMass has a couple of really dangerous strikers, and we did a really good job. We went up twice on these guys. It was a game where I felt like we should have gotten three points and the win. I felt that we were the better team. We gave up an own goal on one of the goals and that was deflating, but I have to give our guys credit. We have a lot of young guys out there, and they dealt with a couple of adverse moments well. They held on for the tie."
Neither team was able to break through until the 61st minute, when freshman midfielder Ritchie Barry slung a cross in from just outside of the box and redshirt freshman defender Ben Cochran, from about eight yards out, headed his shot to the right of diving UMass goalkeeper Bardia Asefnia for the goal. The score marked the second time in as many matches that Cochran netted the first goal of the game.
However, UMass responded less than two minutes later as the Minutemen put the ball into the box on a free kick opportunity following an SJU foul. The ball would deflect off of an SJU player and find the back of the net to even the score in the 63rd minute.
In the 74th minute, freshman defender David Grana stole the ball from a UMass defender at around midfield, found space, and fired off a shot toward goal. Asefnia got a hand on the shot, which ricocheted off of the crossbar and landed at the feet of senior forward Isaac Agyapong. Agyapong scooped up the ball at his feet and tapped it into the back of the net to give the Hawks the 2-1 edge entering the final 16:07 of regulation.
An SJU foul would set UMass up with another free kick opportunity in the 85th minute, and Asefnia launched the ball from near midfield into the box, where Jack Fulton headed in the equalizer at the 84:15 mark.
Both squads would get decent looks in the overtime frames; senior goalkeeper Greg O'Connell (3-6-3, 1-1-1 A-10) made a stop on a Davis Smith header in the 99th minute while senior midfielder Matt Crawford had a good look in the 106th minute that went just wide.
For the match, O'Connell made four saves.
In addition to picking up points on the offensive end of the field, Cochran, Barry, and Grana played the full 110:00 for the Crimson and Gray, as did Crawford, freshman midfielder Aidan Watkins, freshman defender Daniel Morales, and junior defender Eddie McCusker.
For the match, the Hawks owned an 18-10 edge in shots, included a 12-4 advantage in the second half. The Hawks also earned a 7-5 edge in corner kicks. Each squad was whistled for 16 fouls.
"Any time you get points in the A-10 conference, it's good," added D'Ambra. "We're going to just learn from this, get better, and focus on Fordham for Saturday."
Saint Joseph's returns to action at Fordham (8-3-2, 2-1-1 A-10) this Saturday, October 14. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. at Jack Coffey Field. In league play, the Rams drew with George Mason, 1-1, defeated La Salle, 1-0, fell to VCU, 1-0, and downed St. Bonaventure, 2-0, on the road on Wednesday evening.
MATCH NOTES: With Wednesday's draw, the Hawks improve to 7-17-2 all-time vs. UMass and are 2-0-1 since 2014... With his four saves in Wednesday's draw, senior goalkeeper Greg O'Connell has now made 132 career saves, which ranks ninth in SJU's program history... With four shots in Wednesday's draw, senior midfielder Matt Crawford has now fired off 133 shots in his career, which is one shy from ninth in SJU's program history.