No. 11 Case Western outlasts No. 9 UR in OT

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Visiting Case Western Reserve University capitalized on three set pieces and emerged with a 3-2 overtime victory over the University of Rochester men’s soccer team in a UAA conference matchup on Friday evening at Edwin Fauver Stadium.

Alex Besl headed in a free kick three and a half minutes into the first overtime to give the 11th-ranked Spartans the win, while teammates Garrett Winter and Nathan Ekberg added CWRU’s other goals, both coming via headers on corner kicks.  9th-ranked Rochester’s tallies came from Patrice Dougé and Ulrik Koren, with one coming in each half.

Case Western Reserve (13-2-1, 3-1-1) picks up three big points in the conference standings while Rochester falls for just the second time on the season, dropping to 11-2-1 overall and 2-2-1 in the conference.

The Spartans struck early, earning a corner in the fourth minute and converting for the 1-0 lead when Winter headed in the corner from teammate Zachary Senft.  Winter slipped in behind the Yellowjacket defense unmarked and had the easy header into the open net.

Case’s Senft nearly made it 2-0 five minutes later when he ripped a hard shot from the edge of the box which skimmed the top of the crossbar.

The Yellowjackets had a chance to equalize in the 29th minute.  Bryce Ikeda slipped a pass through multiple Spartan defenders along the right wing to Cristian Baltier who attempted a sliding shot while, only to see it sail narrowly wide left of target.

Shortly after UR’s first scoring opportunity, Dougé notched the tying goal for the Yellowjackets at 32:23.  Rochester played the ball up the left side, sending a back pass towards the middle of the field which deflected off a Spartan midfielder.  Dougé was in the right place to corral the loose ball and then outran his defender for the open shot.  His attempt from the center of the field 12 yards out found the low left corner of the net.

Two minutes later, Case Western Reserve regained the lead.  This time, Ekberg used his size in out leaping the defense and headed his ball towards the left side of the net and past UR goalie Patrick Conway for the 2-1 lead.  Connor Weber picked up the assist sending the corner ball into the box.

Dougé looked to answer for the Yellowjackets five minutes before intermission, but his hard header attempt headed for the right side of the net was saved by Spartan goalie Charlie Fink.

15 minutes into the second half, the Spartans nearly capitalized on a fortunate bounce deep in Yellowjacket territory.  CWRU’s Winter scooped up a loose ball and was left with a 2-on-1 situation with his teammate Marques Manta, but Manta’s shot was sent wide.

Late in the 63rd minute, Case earned a free kick from the left wing 25 yards out.  Senft’s ball got sent into the box where two big Spartans got to it first heading shots on goal.  The first attempt came from Ekberg and was punched away by Conway, with the follow-up by Weber being saved off the line by Ikeda who chested the ball down and out to safety.

Rochester was able to pull even on the scoreboard at 65:16 when Nik Angyal streaked down the right side and sent a low, bullet cross to the far post where Ulrik Koren was waiting for the tap-in goal, his third of the season.

The three UR players with points nearly struck again in the 70th minute, narrowly missing the chance to give Rochester the lead.  Angyal started a breakout, sprinting up the middle of the field, sending a cross through the defense to Koren.  The junior then chipped a pass back to the right which was just out of the reach of Dougé who had an open net after Fink came out trying to intercept the pass.

A free kick just past midfield in overtime set up the winner in the 94th minute.  Weber stood over the ball 40 yards away and launched the long ball into box where Besl leaped over the defense and found the ball and headed it perfectly into the low left corner for his seventh goal of the season, giving the Spartans the late season conference win.

Overall, shots were 12-10 in favor of the Spartans.  CWRU also held the edge 4-2 in corners.  Conway made one save in goal for the Yellowjackets and Fink ended with two saves for the Spartans.

Rochester is back in action on Sunday morning against Carnegie Mellon University for an 11 am kick-off, while CWRU remains on the road with a trip to Emory University on Sunday.

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