Lexington, Ky. – A thrilling and intense night of soccer ended with a game-winning goal from junior striker Thomas Shellenberg to lift the Transylvania men's soccer team to a 3-2 overtime victory against the Thomas More College Saints on Wednesday evening at Pat Deacon Stadium.
Level after 90 minutes of gameplay, the Pioneers and Saints headed into overtime before the junior quickly ended the night's proceedings, placing down a deflected curler from senior midfielder Jacob Gantt and firing a shot to the back post for the third and final goal of the game by Transylvania.
The magical clutch moment for Shellenberg capped off the first brace of his college career to lift the Transylvania Pioneers to their sixth consecutive victory to begin the 2017 season.
Transylvania improved to 6-0 with the stirring victory while Thomas More dropped to 3-3-1 following Wednesday's result.
Wednesday's game was unlike any other the Pioneers had experienced in the 2017 season. Entering the match having shutout its last four straight opponents, Transylvania's bid for a fifth straight shutout was quashed early by the Saints' Suli Kayed, who struck a blow against the Pioneers with a straight-on goal in the 15th minute for a 1-0 visitors' lead.
But Transylvania did not tarry long, ushering the ball downfield for a quick response by sophomore striker Charlie Wend, as sophomore striker Alex Shkraba set up his fellow classmate for an equalizer just over a half-minute later.
Both teams continued pushing the ball forward aggressively, creating plenty of chances for their respective sides. The Pioneers cashed in once more in the 35th minute when Shellenberg scored on his first goal of the night off a beautiful setup from freshman striker Griffin Lamb, notching their first lead of the night at 2-1.
But like the first lead of the game, Transylvania's was also short-lived as Ibra Goumballe pulled back an equalizer for his team in the 41st minute, leveling the match at 2-all.
The second half was stylistically opposite from the first, but equal in intensity. Both defenses locked in and denied quality offensive pushes. Transylvania seemingly received a break when Thomas More's Adam Mathews received his second yellow card of the night in the 75th minute, resulting in an 11-on-10 man advantage for the home team.
But after losing a man, the Saints found new resolve, mustering dangerous counterattacks against the Pioneers, nearly scoring on multiple changes in the final nine minutes of the game.
Having held off Thomas More's best charge, the Pioneers took advantage quickly in extra time, as Gantt played the ball forward and the spoils went to Shellenberg and the Pios.
With a new national ranking in hand to go with their still undefeated record, the Pioneers wrap up nonconference play this Saturday, September 23 as they visit Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The opening kick is set for 1:00 p.m. from Wiley Stadium.
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