FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Sophomore midfielder Evan Sampers came through in the clutch for the LaGrange College men's soccer team on Saturday with two goals, including the game-winning mark in the 103rd minute during a 2-1 double-overtime win at Methodist.
The game marked the USA South opener for both teams, as the Panthers (2-3, 1-0 USA South) have now won back-to-back games. The Monarchs suffered their first loss of the season (1-1, 0-1 USA South).
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The Panthers were trailing, 1-0, at the beginning of the second half, but Sampers quickly generated the equalizer with his first collegiate goal. The Buford, Ga. native picked the top-right corner 55 seconds into the second half, assisted by freshman forward Jaydon Parish. Parish now has three points during his rookie campaign, as he scored during a 5-0 win over Toccoa Falls on Sept. 11.
- Sampers buried his second career goal less than three minutes into the second-overtime period, as he beat Monarchs freshman goalkeeper Cole Hupp to the bottom-right corner from beyond the 18-yard box.
- The Panthers once again received strong goalkeeping. Freshman Lucas Wright only gave up one goal and stopped five shots, including two in the first-overtime period, during his first collegiate win.
- The Panthers made strong adjustments at halftime, as they held a commanding 14-6 advantage in shots during the second half and overtime periods.
- Methodist opened the scoring during the late stages of the first half. Sophomore midfielder Tyler Hinton buried an attempt into the top-right corner off a set piece during the 37th minute, giving the Monarchs a brief 1-0 cushion.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Panthers Head Coach Ryan Dickson: "We controlled the game the first 20 minutes. They brought Errick Sturm down when he was clear on goal and they picked up a red card. At the end of the first half, they picked up a goal on a set piece from the run of the play. At halftime, we made a few adjustments, which worked in our favor and we got a quick goal. We piled the pressure on and could not get one in. The game went into overtime where they sneaked a ball through, and we had to bring him down, picking up a red card of our own. The team did not quit fighting, and Evan Sampers hit a 25-yard screamer to pick up a vital three points."
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- LaGrange has held its opponents to two or less goals in four of five games this year.
- The Panthers held a 20-15 advantage in shots, to go along with an 8-2 edge in corner kicks. The game was a physical affair with a total of five cards being issued.
- LaGrange has utilized a balanced attack with nine different goal scorers through five games.
- Freshman midfielder Blake Webb totaled a game-high five shots with two being on target, while Sampers only took two shots with both finding the back of the net.
- The Panthers will jump right back into USA South action with a crucial 2 p.m. matchup against N.C. Wesleyan on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Rocky Mount, N.C.