Slippery Rock University junior men’s soccer forward Dom Francis scored the winning goal with just eight seconds left in regulation play to defeat Millersville University 4-3 in exciting fashion on Wednesday afternoon.
Senior defender Joshua Gray threw-in the ball to junior defender Declan Brennan, who headed it to Francis during the final seconds to put the game away and prevent overtime.
“For the game winner, I just put everything I had into that throw,” Gray said. “We only had 10 seconds on the clock, so I just threw the ball as far and as straight as I could.”
This game was a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference matchup that featured two of the conference’s top teams. The game was streamed live in HD by Tourbeau Sports as the featured National Game of the Week.
With the win, SRU improves to 12-3-1 overall, with a 7-3 record in the PSAC.
Millersville falls to 10-5-1 overall with a 7-3 record in the conference.
Both teams are now in a tie for third place in the league standings.
This game was important for both teams, because the number three and four seeds in the conference will host the first round of the playoffs, while the fifth and sixth seeds will have to travel for their games. Saturday’s match-ups will determine playoff game locations.
The first goal of the game was scored by Gray in the third minute.
Gray sent a long throw-in into the opposing goalkeeper’s box. Millersville keeper Brad Benzing tried to catch the ball but he stumbled back into across the goal line and allowed the goal. This was Gray’s first goal of the season.
“I realized the keeper was short, so I figured long throws would trouble the other team,” Gray said. “My aim was to just throw it into an area where their goal keeper would be nervous to come catch the ball.”
Millersville scored the next two goals of the game.
Their first goal came from junior defender Anthony Fratini off of an assist from sophomore forward Ben Johnston in the 51st minute.
Their next goal came in the 65th minute from sophomore forward Jaime Vazquez off of an assist from senior forward Andrew Dukes.
The Green and White tied the game in the 78th minute when junior midfielder Brandon Chiu passed to sophomore forward Peter Boylan for the goal. The game was tied 2-2.
“My goal was definitely a huge one for the team, and I’m happy I was able to contribute when we needed it the most,” Boylan said. “I knew I had to step it up knowing we were down a goal with 15 minutes to go.”
Millersville took the lead in the 81st minute when Dukes found the back of the net for the second time.
SRU junior defender Josh Brake responded and tied the game with 1:31 left to play off of a corner kick from Francis.
The game was about to go into overtime, but with 15 seconds left to play the Gray-Brennan-Francis connection earned the victory for the hosts.
Junior goalkeeper Chris Zier made eight saves in the game. Millersville’s goaltender, Benzing made six saves in the loss.
The Green and White made 16 total shots, however Millersville held a 12-10 edge in shots on goal and a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks.
SRU will play its last game of the regular season on the road against Shippensburg University on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Shippensburg is ranked fifth in the PSAC conference.