Southern Poly Loses Elite 8 Heart Breaker 3-2 in OT
November 30, 2011
Orange Beach, AL
In a rematch from the 2010 Opening Round, Lindsey Wilson College from Columbia, Kentucky would enter the match with a 20-0 record and a #1 National Ranking. The Blue Raiders have won eight National Championships since 1995 and have been a perennial top 10 Nationally since then. This would be the second meeting between Southern Poly and Lindsey, with Southern Poly winning their first contest 2-1.
Southern Poly would get the first great opportunity to score when in the 15th minute Junior Lesego Molemogi would combine with two other teammates, get behind the back line and slip a ball to oncoming Senior Jumol Harewood. Harewood would be two yards from the goal and be just a foot short as the ball would skim off his boot and roll wide. It was a great chance early and prove to be costly. The game would stay scoreless until the 36th minute when a Lindsey player, Moloto, would pick up a loose ball and beat two Southern Poly defenders on top the box. He would slot it to the far post and give Lindsey a 1-0 lead. Southern Poly would storm back minutes later when Senior Sean Grisham hit a side volley off a deflection from 25 yards. The shot would force a diving save from the Lindsey keeper and give Southern Poly life. The half would end 1-0 and Lindsey would hold a 9-7 shot advantage.
The second half saw Lindsey come out flying as less than two minutes into the half when Moloto again would pick up a loose ball and fire it from 20 yards past the Southern Poly keeper. It was his second goal of the game and fourth of the National Championships. With Southern Poly down 2-0 and nothing to lose they started pressing hard. The pressure would pay off when in the 63rd minute Junior Emeka Maduka would pick up his second goal in as many games. Junior Andre Santos would take a corner and Grisham would flick it on with a header at the near post. Maduka would be charging behind and head it beyond the keeper. It would cut the score to 2-1 and Southern Poly wasn't done yet.
Having three starters out- Southern Poly GK, Dennis Kramer, would get hurt in a collision with a Lindsey Wilson forward, Sophomore Juan Henao not be allowed to return with a mild concussion, and Molemogi injuring his hamstring, it seemed a bit dim to think of an equalizer. However, Sophomore James Harris would pick a great time to get his first goal of the year.
Grisham would receive a pass and turn at the back line of Lindsey. There he would find a streaking Harris and slip a ball beyond for Harris to run on to. With his second touch Harris would slot it far post and tie the game. The Southern Poly sidelines would erupt with celebration and they would keep pressing for the game winner. That chance came twice more before the final whistle. Senior Diego Nicholson would streak by two defenders and just as he got by the ball was deflected and just slow him up enough to ruin his stride. He would eventually get a shot off in traffic but it would be an easy save. Then with less than two minutes remaining Maduka would break through and be one on one with the keeper. Maduka would shake a defender and shoot far post. The ball would be just beyond an outstretched Lindsey keeper and roll inches wide. It would be the final scoring attempt of regulation and it would head to overtime.
Overtime, where the first goal wins in two ten minute periods that are played, was all Lindsey Wilson. They came out flying and with eight minutes gone a free kick driven from 45 yards was deflected, saved by Southern Poly's back up keeper Junior Jason Andrew, and the rebound was pounced on by a diving Lindsey forward who headed it into the open net. The golden goal would give Lindsey Wilson a 3-2 OT win and advance Lindsey Wilson to the Final Four.
The 2011 season would end with Southern Poly having a 17-3-2 record, ranked #6 Nationally at the end of the regular season, winning their first SSAC Tournament Championship, and advancing to the Elite 8 for the first time in program history.
"I am so proud of our players and staff. We fought hard to send the match into overtime. It was a huge hill to climb against a great team and the boys showed tons of character. I'm going to miss our senior class, as they have helped put this program on the map. They ended their careers showing lots of heart," said Head Coach Kom Momeni.