By: Jill Wunrow
CLEVELAND, Ohio (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - After trailing 1-0 since the opening two minutes of the game, the Green Bay (8-5-1, 3-2-0) men's soccer team scored two goals in the last five-and-a-half minutes to beat Cleveland State (6-8-1, 3-2-1) 2-1 at Krenzler Field Saturday. The Vikings entered the contest in first place in the Horizon League standings while the Phoenix picked up its first conference road victory of the season and fourth consecutive win.
"Any win is huge, especially in conference play against a quality team like Cleveland State," said head coach Kris Kelderman. "We feel we are playing our best soccer of the season right now and we have to keep it going in our final three conference games."
Cleveland State scored early in the contest with a goal two minutes after kick off when Jordan Hart broke away down the field after receiving a loft pass from Aaron Adkins. Hart beat Phoenix goalie Ryan Wehking (St. Louis, Mo.) for the goal as Wehking stepped up in attempt to prevent the shot.
Despite trailing 1-0 at the half, Green Bay won the time of possession battle with the Vikings fouling the Phoenix 13 times. With 15 seconds remaining in the opening half, the Phoenix had one of its two corner kick opportunities following a free kick that went out of bounds by a Cleveland State defender, leaving the Phoenix with one shot throughout the first period of play.
"Cleveland State fought harder than us in the first half and we challenged our players at halftime and they came out with a great response," said Kelderman. "We had all the momentum in the second half and with that we knew we would get a goal and we did."
After a back and forth battle in the second half, Green Bay kept fighting as Cleveland State committed a handball penalty in the box with five-and-a-half minutes to play. Senior Tony Walls (Wauwatosa, Wis.) took the penalty kick for the Phoenix and converted the tying goal. The goal was Walls' team-high fifth of the season and second PK.
"We had all the momentum in the second half and knew that if we would get one goal, we would get another," said Walls.
Following a Green Bay foul, the Phoenix defense won the ball back allowing Luke Goodnetter (Elm Grove, Wis.) to fire what appeared to be the last shot of the game for the Phoenix as Vikings' goalie Brad Stuver came up with the save. The Phoenix never quit and won the ball at midfield off the goalie kick where the ball was played back in, cleared by the Vikings before being served back into the box by AJ Patterson (Menomonee Falls, Wis.). Goodnetter headed the ball to the far right post of the goal for the win with just 29 seconds remaining.
"It was crazy," Goodnetter said of his first career game-winning goal. "We are on a run right now and we just want to keep it going and see what we can do in the Horizon League Championship."
Earlier this season, the Phoenix lost 3-2 in double overtime at Milwaukee with seven seconds remaining. That game taught the Phoenix to never quit playing until the final buzzer sounds. Though the lesson at Milwaukee was learned the hard way, Green Bay's thrilling win over the Vikings made it worthwhile.
"The Milwaukee game definitely opened our eyes to keep playing on both ends of the ball," Walls said. "We learn that as young kids but forget over time and have lessons like the Milwaukee game to remind us and it paid off tonight."
After firing just one shot in the first half, Green Bay outshot the Vikings 8-4 and 4-1 on corner kicks in the second period. The win at Krenzler Field was the first for Green Bay's senior class of Walls, Stuart Grable (Neenah, Wis.) AJ Konchar (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Tony Patterson (Menomonee Falls, Wis.).
Green Bay will play two of its final three regular season games in the confines of Aldo Santaga Stadium beginning Wednesday, Oct. 26 as it hosts Detroit at 7 p.m. After traveling to Wright State Oct. 29, the Phoenix will wrap up regular season play Nov. 5 as it hosts Valparaiso on senior day at 1 p.m.
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