GWU Battles to 1-1 Draw with ACC's 'Pack
A sellout crowd watched the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs battle ACC power N.C. State to a 1-1 draw Tuesday night in Boiling Springs. The result is only the second all time for the Bulldogs versus an ACC program in 24 tries, with the other being a win against Clemson in 2009.
“I’m happy, but I’m not completely happy,” said GWU head soccer coach Tony Setzer. “We were so close to a win, but we just could not finish. But I can’t fault our effort tonight. The defense was outstanding and for Mathew Swan to play like he did in gal, as a freshman, that’s just special. I just wish the outcome had been different.”
Swan and the defense had to turn in a “special” effort as they were outshot by the Wolfpack by a 33-14 margin and earned 14 corner kicks to the Bulldogs’ 6.
N.C. State began the game with high pressure and GWU relieved the pressure by playing the ball back to goalie Matthew Swan, even so, the Wolfpack’s Alex Martinez worked his way free for a shot in the 5th minute. Swan made the initial save and the rebound was cleared by the defense.
The home team then began to control the action for the next 20 minutes as Ali Al-Gashamy made several nice runs and his shot in the 15th minute nearly eluded goalie Alex McCauley but he made a diving save to keep the match level.
That chance seemed to light a fire under NCSU. They continually peppered the Gardner-Webb goal, outshooting the Bulldogs 6-0 for the rest of the half.
Defenseman Eric Yeager made a pair of diving headers to clear danger. Swan was also solid between the pipes making two saves to keep the game scoreless at the half.
The second half was more fluid for both teams. Denzel Clarke eared an excellent chance in the 48th minute as he tried to redirect a pass from Al-Gashamy but the ball deflected off the near post.
Clarke continued to pressure on NC State’s backline and it finally paid off in the 75th minute. After Clarke earned a corner kick, GWU captain Marius Hammersmark delivered a cross right to the head of Clarke who put the ball in the
back of the net for his sixth goal of the season.
“They had been marking Denzel pretty tight,” said Setzer. "So we decided to cross him and Matt Bogart. Denzel lost his defender and Marius put it right on his head for a goal.”
The Bulldogs held that lead until the 85th minute. After NCSU earned a disputed corner, Martinez delivered the ball to Michael Bajza. His shot looked harmless but it kept bending toward the goal and nestled in the top corner for the equalizer that forced overtime.
After a quiet first overtime, tempers flared in the second session. The teams had to be separated twice as each side front franticly for the Golden Goal.
The Wolfpack garnered six shots during the second overtime, but Swan was up to the challenge, making a fingertip save in the final seconds to preserve the 1-1 draw.