WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Sophomore midfielder Alex Brannan's (Oneonta, N.Y.) goal with just two seconds remaining in regulation lifted the Norwich University men's soccer team to a thrilling 3-2 victory over University of St. Joseph (Conn.) in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action on USJ Soccer Field on Saturday afternoon.
Norwich (8-2-1, 3-1-1 GNAC) nearly gave itself a lead just 7:15 into the first frame when sophomore midfielder Amerle Nemeye (Burlington, Vt.) struck a shot on goal. The ball hit the crossbar, however, and stayed out.
The teams played the remainder of the first half scoreless with the Cadets outshooting the hosts five to three.
The adjustments made at the half by the Cadets worked perfectly as the visitors managed two goals in a span of 1:38 to establish a 2-0 lead.
Senior midfielder Josue Lopez (Chula Vista, Calif.) notched his fourth goal of the season off of a pass from freshman forward Joseph Thongsythavong (Salem, Mass.) just 43 seconds into the second stanza. Senior midfielder Dashiell Vermilya (Montpelier, Vt.) then found freshman midfielder Hunter Lortie (Manchester, N.H.) for his second of the year to extend the lead.
St. Joseph (7-3-0, 3-1-0 GNAC) battled back with two quick strikes of their own. Charles Mputu and DeAnte Anderson both scored unassisted markers for the Blue Jays three and a half minutes apart to square the game at 2-2 with 23:15 remaining. Anderson's tally came via a penalty kick following a Norwich foul in the box.
As time wound down, both sides pressed for the game winner sending multiple shots toward goal. Brennan found pay dirt with the final shot of the game beating the hosts' keeper with just two seconds left to play and giving the Cadets one of the most memorable finishes in program history.
Freshman keeper Robert Wagenseller (Poway, Calif.) made one save to pick up the win in net for the Cadets. John Griffin was saddled with the tough luck loss after making four saves in goal for the Blue Jays.
The teams were well matched as evidenced by the statistics. Norwich held a slight 12-10 edge in shots while holding a slim 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Norwich will play five of its six remaining GNAC contests at home starting with a matchup with Colby-Sawyer on Wednesday at 7 p.m.