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UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. â If you didn’t know the boys of Marygrove men’s soccer, you do now! The Mustangs picked up the biggest win in Marygrove athletics history on Sunday (Sept. 13) in University Center, Mich., upsetting NCAA Division II No. 6 Saginaw Valley State University by a 2-1 final tally to spoil the Cardinals’ 2015 home opener.
Senior forward Abdoulie Jallow recorded both goals (59′, 72′) to lift the Mustangs to the historic win â their first victory over the highly-respected program in five attempts.
The Mustangs (2-4-0) handed the Cardinals (3-1-0) their first loss of the season in the 2-1 triumph, toppling a program three years removed from the NCAA Division II National Championship Game to give seventh-year head coach Matt Johnson his 47th career win.
“The guys responded well today,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a long week playing three matches in four days; a string of games that we knew could define us as a team for the rest of the season heading into the stretch. Ultimately this week did define us a bit â we are a stronger, more resilient team after enduring the highs and lows of this stretch. We will enjoy this victory for a day before we get back to work to focus on a tough NAIA opponent ahead next weekend.”
After losing two heartbreakers over the past three days, the Mustangs started slow and were under attack from early pressure applied by the Cardinals. The hosts recorded four corner kicks and one shot on target over the game’s first 15 minutes to highlight a scoreless first half â a stanza that saw the Cardinals outshoot the Mustangs (6-5) despite the Green and Gold holding an edge on shots on target, 2-1.
A Cardinals goal at the 51′ mark put the Mustangs down, 1-0, before the hosts were issued a red card for a tough foul five minutes later. The card resulted in an 11-10 advantage for the Mustangs for the final 35 minutes of the contest.
Jallow (Bansang, The Gambia/Rust College) and fellow forward Gbenga Ayanwale (Osun State, Nigeria/Atanda International) combined on a nifty give-and-go up the right side to knot the match, 1-1, at the 59′ mark to swing momentum solidly into the Mustangs favor. Jallow beat Cardinals keeper after Ayanwale played the ball back to his teammate to earn the assist and his fifth point of the 2015 campaign.
The Cardinals were whistled for a hand-ball in the box at the 72′ mark, sending Jallow to the line for a penalty kick attempt â the Mustangs’ second such try in as many games. Jallow would connect on the PK try, giving the Mustangs a 2-1 lead with 19 minutes remaining in the contest.
Well-organized defense and solid goalkeeping from Austin Valentine (Westland, Mich./Concordia-Ann Arbor) took control from there as the Mustangs earned the narrow one-goal victory over the Cardinals. Valentine came up big for the Mustangs late, sprawling out to save a Cardinal strike in the 88′ to preserve the victory.
“Austin’s save was huge for us late in the game,” remarked Johnson after the match. “He made his best save of the day when we needed it the most. Austin has been solid for us all season and today was another example of his ability in net.”
Valentine turned away two shots to move to an even 2-2 on the season. Through four matches, Valentine owns a 0.95 goals against average and a .800 save percentage.
The Mustangs outshot the Cardinals 13-12 overall and 6-3 on goal in a game where the hosts held a decisive 12-0 advantage in corners. The Mustangs were whistled for 14 fouls compared to only four for the Cardinals.
The Mustangs return to action Saturday (Sept. 19) when they visit Taylor (Ind.) for a 7 p.m. tilt.
NEWS AND NOTES: The men’s soccer victory over the No. 6Â team in NCAA Division II ranks as the best win over a Top-25 opponent in any division … Marygrove’s previous best upset over a Top-25 team happened on Jan. 8, 2011 when the men’s basketball team toppled NAIA No. 15 Indiana Tech on the road …
MEN’S SOCCERÂ CONTACT: Tim Johnston |Â [emailÂ protected]/* */Â |Â @tjohnston56
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Category: Men's Soccer