SELMA, Ala. -- Freshman Mark Ryan Lescher (Tallahassee, Fla.) propelled the Andrew College men's soccer team to a season-opening 2-1 double-overtime victory over Concordia College-Alabama on Saturday, scoring the game-winning tally for the Fighting Tigers (1-0-0) in the 106th minute of play.
"Concordia is a tough team and a tough place to play," Andrew head coach Rudy Roediger commented. "Overall we played well, but we showed real character and commitment today. Going down a goal in such a tight match a weaker team would have given in, but we showed strength and found a way to win the game. These guys demonstrated The Andrew Way today."
A tackle on Freshman Youssef Saleh (Cairo, Egypt) saw the referee call advantage for the Fighting Tigers after the foul committed by Concordia allowing redshirt sophomore Shawn Williams, Jr. (Brunswick, Ga.) to set up the goal for Lescher's strike from approximately 25-yards out in the 106th minute that beat the dive from Concordia goalkeeper Wendy Thoby. The ensuing whistle signaled the conclusion to a hard fought victory on opening day for Andrew College.
The overtime goal ended what proved to be a defensive battle with Andrew and Concordia trading limited chances in each half.
Concordia opened the scoring in the 65th minute when Stanley Benjamin netted his second goal in as many matches against the Fighting Tigers. A year ago Benjamin's goal secured Concordia a victory at Hord Athletic Complex.
Following Andrew's only corner of the day, sophomore Troy Ceasar (Road Town, British Virgin Islands) attacked the box on the dribble and earned the Fighting Tigers a penalty kick following a handling call by the officials.
Freshman Gillani St. Bernard (St. Georges, Grenada) stepped up and despite a long delay coolly slotted home the game-tying goal with five minutes remaining in regulation.
With strong defensive play by freshman Ryan Davey (Hampshire, England), Jordan Vaughan(Crawfordville, Fla.), St. Bernard, Saleh, Lescher and Ceasar, Andrew kept the explosive Hornets who scored 52 goals and averaged 3.25 goals-per game in 2015 in check. Freshman Nilson Miranda (Ponmano Beach, Fla.) made three important saves as Andrew secured the overtime victory.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- Thirteen different players made their AC debut in the match, Juan Cuervo, Ryan Davey,Liam Daynes, Mark Ryan Lescher, Petter Meinseth, Nilson Miranda,Ridi Muteba, Bhavik Odedra, Brandt Pulliam, Youssef Saleh, Gillani St. Bernard, Jordan Vaughan, Shawn Williams, Jr., and Jaelin Williams.
- With the win, the Fighting Tigers are 2-1-0 in season openers under Roediger.
- In Roediger's collegiate coaching career he has coached in 28 one goal matches and now holds an 11-17-0 mark in such matches. Since 2012 Roediger has been involved in nine overtime matches and now holds a 2-4-3 record in matches that go past 90 minutes.
- Andrew College broke a four-match winless streak against Concorida dating back to the 2012 season.Andrew kicked off its 2015 season on a seven-match winning streak (7-0-0) and garnered its first NJCAA National Ranking (No. 16) since 2004 and its first National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) during the stretch.
The Fighting Tigers host first-year NJCAA Division I opponent Daytona State College, under the direction of former Andrew College player and coach, Bart Sasnett at Hord Athletic Complex on Saturday, Sept. 3. Kickoff is scheduled for Andrew's home opener for 3 p.m.