Coulter makes seven saves to extend his conference lead in shutouts to six
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (September 25, 2011) – It was a battle of ranked teams on Sunday afternoon at Summers-Taylor Stadium, but neither could break the other as the No. 22 ETSU men’s soccer team and the No. 25/23 Furman Paladins played to a scoreless draw.
“Furman’s a tremendous team and they absolutely deserve their national ranking,” commented head coach Scott Calabrese. “I think we learned a little about ourselves as a team today, and that’s what happens when you play an excellent opponent.
“We need to look closely at the video and we absolutely must learn from this game.”
There was no lack of chances in this contest, but rather a lack of execution. The Buccaneers and Paladins put up 30 shots through regulation and the two overtime periods, with Furman beating out ETSU 18-12; however, neither team could find the back of the net.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Coulter (Dublin, Ireland) made seven saves to record his conference-leading sixth shutout of the season, and kept the Paladins from escaping Johnson City with anything but a draw.
ETSU (6-1-1) may not have gotten the win, but did extend its unbeaten streak to four-straight games. The Bucs went to overtime on one other occasion this year – defeating then-No. 24 UNC Greensboro, 1-0 – and played eight overtime matches last year, all without a draw with a record of 8-1-0. Today, the Buccaneers had to settle for their first tie since October 4, 2009, when they played their last scoreless game against USC Upstate.
Furman (7-1-2) had won seven straight matches heading into Sunday, but did continue its unbeaten streak to eight straight games with the tie.
A lot of midfield play took place to start the game, then sophomore David Geno (Kingsport, Tenn.) took ETSU’s first set piece of the match with a corner kick in the ninth minute. The attempt was cleared and the defensive struggle through the opening half ensued.
Fifteen minutes in, sophomore Blaike Woodruff (Georgetown, Texas) took a shot that was blocked over the end line for the Buccaneers’ second corner, but Geno’s ball was no threat to the Paladins and was cleared away.
The Buccaneers’ best chance of the game came when Furman’s keeper, Alec Kann, was charged with a foul in the 39th minute. As Furman played the ball back to their keeper, Kann picked it up with his hands and was whistled for doing so because the ball was played back to him by his own team.
Junior Theo Yang (Lilburn, Ga.) lined up for the ensuing free kick just six yards from goal, as a wall of Paladins stood shoulder to shoulder on the goal line. Yang’s shot slammed the wall and bounced away and Furman dispersed back into its normal position.
With the clock running under 10 seconds to play in the half, sophomore Itode Fubara (Ogbema, Nigeria) sent a shockwave through the Summers-Taylor crowd. The reigning A-Sun Tournament MVP blasted a shot from 20 yards that seemed to be locked on goal, and as the clock hit one second the ball went over the hands of Kann and just over the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.
The half hit and ETSU and Furman were deadlocked with the Bucs holding a slight, 5-4, advantage in shots and both teams equal in corners a three apiece.
The second half belonged to Furman, as the Paladins tested Coulter 10 times only to see the Irish keeper deny every opportunity and make five saves through the period.
One of Furman’s runs came in the 80th minute when Josh Lietch took a shot that Coulter dove for and got a hand on to force it over the end line. The ensuing corner led to a great opportunity as Furman’s Michael Gandier fired a ball past an outstretched Coulter, but the keeper had the goal covered as Gandier’s shot went out of play.
Still scoreless through regulation, the two teams headed for overtime with Furman holding a, 14-10, advantage in shots and a, 6-3, advantage in corners.
The Bucs got off one solid chance that came just over a minute into the first overtime. Senior Jaron Westbrook (Round Rock, Texas) stood in the box as Geno sent in a corner. Westbrook leapt and powered a header right at goal, but it was also right at Kann and the opportunity was extinguished.
The remainder of the two overtimes was controlled by Furman, as the Paladins took four shots through the final 10 minutes which all went begging.
The ETSU men’s soccer team will now gear itself towards the conference schedule, as they open Atlantic Sun play on Thursday in Nashville, Tenn. against Belmont at 7 p.m.
For more information on ETSU men’s soccer please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s soccer links.