The men’s soccer team opened up its 2012 season hosting the Sonny Carter Invitational on Friday and Saturday, where they faced the Brewton-Parker College Barons and Kean University (N.J.).
The Eagles managed a tie in a double overtime thriller Friday, but were unable to produce in a loss Saturday.
The Eagles finished the Invitational with a 0-1-1 record, which was good for third place, while Oglethorpe University claimed first with a 2-0-0 mark.
“I think we played alright, but we can definitely play much better,” senior defender Andrew Natalino said. “I think we showed some potential, we created a lot of chances … we just had to put our shots away.”
In the season opener Friday against the Barons, the Eagles battled back from an early deficit to save a 1-1 tie in double overtime.
Emory fell behind in the first half after Brewton-Parker took advantage of an Emory defensive mishap to take a 1-0 lead.
In the 20th minute of play, an intended clearing pass was intercepted by the Barons’ junior forward Adam Beattie just outside of the box and quickly converted into a goal.
“We are going to give a goal up every now and then; that is part of the game,” Head Coach Sonny Travis said. “And we are just going to have to bounce back.”
The Barons maintained their 1-0 lead throughout the first half and most of the second.
The Eagles finally managed to tie the game, however, near the end of regulation.
In the 85th minute of play, freshman defender Matt Sherr scored off a free kick by senior defender David Garofalo.
“What some of the early games are all about, we want to see what the newcomers can do in pressure situations,” Travis said. “And I really think Matt Sherr was the player of the match for us in the first game.”
The goal was Sherr’s first, while Garofalo, who led the team with assists in the 2011-2012 season, picked up his first helper of the season on the play.
At the end of regulation whistle the score remained tied at 1-1, and the game went into overtime.
In both overtime periods Emory had opportunities to win.
On a breakaway play in the first overtime, junior forward Andrew Jones had a shot on goal that went just wide of the net.
In the second overtime, Sherr had the opportunity to score his second tally of the game when he headed the ball off a long throw in by sophomore defender Jeffrey Cochran.
The Barons’ goalkeeper, however, managed to prevent the goal.
“I thought the opportunity was there, I thought defensively we played a very solid game. We had outstanding goal keeping from Aram Keteyian,” Travis said. “We had a little bit of frustration not scoring, but we are creating opportunities.”
Senior Keteyian played the entire 110 minutes of the game, managing five saves. Kean University bested Emory 1-0 in another overtime game Saturday.
Despite having played a double overtime match the night before, Travis said his players came out with high levels of energy and battled for the entirety of the game.
“Our guys came out and played their hearts out,” Travis said. “I was very, very pleased, and I thought once again that we had the better position, we created more opportunities. They are just not falling and it is frustrating, but we will work through it and that is going to improve, I guarantee it.”
After 90 minutes of scoreless play, the game moved to extra time. But just a little over two minutes into the first overtime, the Cougars netted the golden goal to claim a 1-0 victory.
“Any time you lose in overtime, it’s frustrating” Travis said. “We have to find a way to get that goal in overtime before they do, and we will continue to work at it. It is not a lack of effort, that is for sure.”
Despite being held scoreless in the game, the Eagles had a 19-15 advantage in shots.
Keteyian, who again made five saves, took the loss for Emory in his second start of the season.
The Eagles will now focus their attention to their final game of the three-game homestand tonight against Maryville College (Tenn.) at 7 p.m. at the Woodruff P.E. Center.
â€” By Elizabeth Weinstein