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Ayanwale is Golden! Men’s Soccer Upends No. 4 Northwestern Ohio in OT, 2-1

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DETROIT — Marygrove men’s soccer will head into the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Playoffs with momentum on their side after a golden 2-1 overtime victory over NAIA No. 4 University of Northwestern Ohio on Saturday (Oct. 31) in Detroit. The Mustangs improve to 11-6-1 on the season overall, matching the program’s most wins in a single-season while finishing a program-best 8-2-1 in the WHAC.

The win over the No. 4 Racers marks the first win over any ranked NAIA team in the seven-year history of Marygrove men’s soccer and is the highest-rank ever toppled by the Mustangs. Earlier this season, the Mustangs upended NCAA Division II No. 6 Saginaw Valley State University by an identical 2-1 tally. The aforementioned wins are unquestionably the two best in program history for head coach Matt Johnson’s Mustangs.

Senior midfielder Haider Alzayadi (Simawa, Iraq/Wayne State Univ.) got the Mustangs on the board first after a scoreless opening half, sending a goal past Racers’ keeper Liam Davies in the 49th minute to give the Green and Gold a 1-0 lead. Alzayadi’s strike was his first goal of 2015 after accumulating five assists on the season heading into today’s match.

The Mustangs’ back line and midfield held firm from there, shutting down the Racers attack on numerous occasions to continue a solid defensive campaign. Despite missing key pieces in their back half, including seniors Gaoussou Cisse (Abidjan, Ivory Coast/Lathrup High School) and Khalid Suleiman (Tulkarm, Palenstine/Madonna Univ.), the Mustangs were able to keep one of the nation’s top attacks at bay throughout the course of the highly contested match between the conference’s second and third seeds.

Abdoulie Jallow (Bansang, The Gambia/Rust College) – the Mustangs leading scorer – was another key piece to the puzzle sitting out for the Green and Gold Saturday afternoon.

A Racers equalizer goal in the 84th minute attempted to derail the Mustangs, but the Green and Gold stood its ground as the match headed to a golden goal overtime after 90 minutes of action, 1-1.

In the first overtime, Gonzalo Caceres (Detroit, Mich./Southwestern High School) bent a beauty of a ball forward to find the feet of Gbenga Ayanwale (Osun State, Nigeria/Atanda International) who finished the match off with the golden goal in the 99th minute after cutting past Davies for the game-ending tally.

The goal was Ayanwale’s second game-winning golden goal in as many contests after the dynamic forward tucked in the match-ending strike at Madonna on Wednesday (Oct. 28). Ayanwale leads the Mustangs in game-winning goals (4) and is tied for second on the team with Oneil Robinson (Montego Bay, Jamaica/Cornwall College) with six goals on the season.

The Mustangs went with two keepers on Saturday, showcasing their depth between the posts as Austin Valentine (Westland, Mich./Concordia-Ann Arbor) got the start before Ayman Youssef (Dearborn Heights, Mich./Walsh Univ.) checked in to earn the decision after playing the second half and overtime.

Valentine stood tall in the opening half, turning away a Racers shot that preserved a clean first half before giving way to Youssef – a decision made by design entering the contest. Youssef finished with three saves, Valentine with four, as the pair remained stellar in net to end the regular season.

The Racers outshot the Mustangs overall, 13-9, while taking home an 8-3 edge in shots on target. The Mustangs made the most of their chances, sending two of their three shots on goal past the Racers’ keeper to earn one of the best wins in program history.

PLAYOFF PICTURE
The Mustangs could not move up-or-down today regardless of the result, finishing the regular season as the WHAC’s third seed. The team will wait for Saturday’s matches to conclude before learning who will land as the WHAC’s sixth-seed in a match that will be played at a time to be determined on Saturday (Nov. 7) in Detroit.

Saturday’s thriller between the Mustangs and Racers could be a second-round matchup in the WHAC Playoffs should the second and third seeds advance past tough first-round opponents.

Stay tuned to marygrovemustangs.com or follow the Mustangs on facebook, twitter or Instagram to keep up-to-date on the latest playoff news.

EVERY. TEAM. DOWN.
With the 2-1 overtime win over Northwestern Ohio, the Mustangs’ men’s soccer program has now defeated every program in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference.

MEN’S SOCCER CONTACT: Tim Johnston | [email protected]/* */ | @tjohnston56
MARYGROVE BROADCASTS: Mustang Sports Network | Twitter
SOCIAL MEDIA: Men’s Soccer on Twitter

Category: Men's Soccer

Today - 16 November 2018