Men’s soccer earns double overtime draw after early lead

The Carnegie Mellon men’s soccer team took the field on a brisk evening Friday night to face off against the University of Rochester Yellowjackets. This game was truly a tale of two halves, capped off with two nail-biting periods of overtime that ended the game in a 2–2 draw.

Coming off a win last week against New York University, the Tartan men were looking to fight for a winning record in conference play to determine their seeding in the playoffs, and the first half certainly seemed to be putting them on the right track. The Tartans came out strong in the first half with an aggressive offensive push, and they were rewarded for their efforts early with a goal in the seventh minute from first-year midfielder Sean MacPherson off a deflection from an opposing defender. The Tartans continued this pressure with another goal in the 10th minute from first-year forward Philip Petrakian as he touched the ball swiftly around a defender for an unassisted goal.

While the Tartans did gain an advantage, the Yellowjackets were persistent. The game was fast and physical from both sides, remaining fairly even after the first goal as both teams showed strong defensive fronts. While Rochester managed to keep the ball away from their side of the field for the last minutes of the half, the Tartan defenders played well near their goal and only allowed the Yellowjackets one shot in the entire half.

The first half belonged to the Tartans, but the Yellowjackets would not be silenced and took control of the second half at the outset when in the 47th minute, a Yellowjacket defender made a miraculous diving header off a corner kick to give the visiting side their first score of the game. Carnegie Mellon began to play defensively, trying to preserve their lead, but in the process giving up crucial pressure that allowed Rochester to find offensive opportunities. The Tartans could not seem to find a way to get the ball on the Rochester side of the field and keep it there. Carnegie Mellon had the lead, and it appeared to be their game to lose. The Tartans were finally punished for their inability to control the game in the 77th minute when another Yellowjacket defender beat the Tartan keeper to tie up the game and give his team a chance to win it — Rochester was in control. The Tartans played sound defense for the rest of the half, however, and allowed no further goals, sending the game into sudden death overtime.

Rochester maintained the control they had gained at the end of regulation time, but Carnegie Mellon was not giving up. The Tartans tried again and again to keep the ball on the Yellowjacket side of the field, but to no avail. With sound defense from both sides, it appeared that the first overtime period would end with no victor. Tartan keeper Eric Bykowsky saved a shot from a Rochester player in the 98th minute, dulling the Yellowjacket energy for a brief moment. This lasted until the 100th minute, when the crowd held their breath, as in the final 30 seconds of overtime Tartan first-year midfielder Zack Masciopinto attempted a backflip bicycle kick to beat the Yellowjacket keeper, but Brown was quick with both his feet and his hands, diving with full extension to catch the kick and save the game for his team. The first overtime concluded with the score line remaining at 2–2.

The game headed into the second overtime period with no clear victor emerging and the crowd on the edge of their seats. Neither team had significant pressure over the other. Tartan senior midfielder William Webb managed to get a shot on goal in the 101st minute, only to be thwarted by the Yellowjacket keeper, who proved to be pivotal in the outcome of this game. The Tartan side managed two more shots on goal in the period, both being blocked by Yellowjacket defenders. Valiant last-ditch efforts from both sides fell flat to strong defensive play, which seemed to be the story of this game. The second overtime period ended with no change in score, making the game a draw at 2–2. While the Tartan men certainly did not lose the game, it seemed that they gave up a lead that could have been kept. To Rochester’s credit, they forced a draw in a game that many less disciplined teams would have given up on. The Tartans will need to play the second half of their games with the vigor of the first if they want to succeed further in conference play.

There are things to work on, but for now the Tartan men will be at least content with not losing. But they cannot be satisfied, and with four more conference games to play, they will need to step up their game if they want to compete with the top squads in the playoffs.

The Tartans also tied Emory 1–1 on Sunday. Despite the Emory lead since the 17th minute, an 88th minute goal by MacPherson forced the game into overtime, where both defenses prevented any further scoring.

The Tartans are at home for a third week in a row this week and will look to improve on their 8–2–2 record against Mt. Aloysius in their last non-conference game of the season on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.