Crestview Hills, Ky. – A 90th minute goal from freshman forward Alex Shkraba provided the Transylvania men's soccer team with a scintillating 2-1 come-from-behind-victory over Thomas More on Thursday evening at BB&T Field.
Shkraba's game-winner at the death for the Pioneers capped off a marvelous comeback which began in the final 20-minute frame of the contest.
The Pioneers and Saints jousted to a scoreless tie in the first half; a goal by the Saints in the 62nd minute provided an upper hand for the home team as the game went into its final half hour.
But a Pioneers comeback was set in motion by Shkraba's fellow freshman teammate, forward Charlie Wend, who aided his team in leveling the match with a 73rd minute equalizer to tie the game at 1-1. The freshman took a left-side crosser that was deflected off the noggin of a Saints' defender towards the right side of the goal, where Wend stood to knock in a timely header for a dainty strike.
In the final 15 minutes, the Pioneers' spirits picked up, and so did the pace and urgency of the contest. Transylvania's strikers took their chances to break out in front, and nearly struck through again in the 80th minute, but a heavy touch that went long thwarted one of their best efforts.
As the game drew into its waning moments, the Pioneers continued to seek out quick scoring opportunities and put the ball forward. Transylvania tried reprising its earlier theatrics with another header attempt on the right side of the box, but this time the attempt flew wide.
With 65 seconds left, the Pioneers began a quick trek from their backfield heading forward again; senior Riley Calhoon chested down a long lob and passed it forward into hopeful territory.
After the ball was nearly deflected away by the Saints' converging back lines, the ball ended up with Skhraba, who took a hefty swing nearly 25 yards straightaway from goal. Shkraba's kick was blocked, but the deflection landed right back into the foot of Skhraba, who took another swift kick, sending the ball into a magical vector that sailed high above Thomas More's goalkeeper and into the top of the net for the final minute goal.
The Pioneers squashed one final run downfield by the desperate Saints and went on to celebrate only seconds later their newfound lead and instant victory.
Transylvania outshot Thomas More 16 to 11, as freshman goalkeeper Chandler Gaunce collected the win, his fourth of the season. Gaunce tallied six saves in the contest.
The 73rd minute goal was Wend's fourth of the year, while Shkraba's game-winner was his second score of the season for the Pioneers. Freshman midfielder Caswell Fuller attained his first assist of the season on the setup to Wend.
The Pioneers improved to 5-0-2, continuing an increasingly magical month of September. The Pioneers have won four of their last five matches, with a tie bridging the streak.
One final game remains in the month for the Pioneers, who may not want to be woken up when September ends. Transylvania returns to the pitch on Tuesday, September 27 when it visits neighbor Centre in Danville, Kentucky for a 7:30 p.m. start. That nonconference tussle marks the final game of the season for Transylvania before Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play opens up the following Saturday at Rose-Hulman.
For more on Transylvania men's soccer, follow their official twitter @TransyMSoccer