DEMOREST, Ga. – Freshman midfielder Blake Webb of the LaGrange College men's soccer team scored the equalizer and the game-winning goal during a thrilling 2-1 overtime win at Piedmont on Tuesday in USA South action.
For the first time in program history, the Panthers defeated Piedmont on the road. LaGrange (4-5-1, 3-2-1 USA South) fought back from an early 1-0 deficit, as it bounced back from a 2-1 overtime loss to Brevard on Saturday. Piedmont now sits at 3-4-1 overall and 2-3-1 in conference action.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- With less than three minutes left in the first overtime, the Lions attempted to clear a throw-in attempt out of the box and the ball found its way to a wide-open Webb. The freshman standout picked the top-right corner with the game-winning goal from 25 yards out in the 98th minute.
- Webb found the equalizer with 54 seconds left in the first half, curving a free kick just over Piedmont's wall from 22 yards out into the top-left corner. Panthers senior defender Kaine Baker orchestrated the play with a long ball from LaGrange's own zone and senior midfielder Errick Sturm drew the foul in the attacking end.
- Piedmont opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, as Jose Linares drove a free kick from 35 yards out into the box. Cameron Earls scored a header goal top-shelf from point-blank range.
- During the 18th minute, Webb played at outstanding free kick into the center of the box, but Lions goalkeeper Cameron Verona punched the ball out of danger.
- Panthers freshman goalkeeper Lucas Wright was able to deflect Lule Tekilemariam's shot wide right during a one-on-one situation in the 68th minute. During the 73rd minute, Baker came up with a big block in the box on Tekilemariam.
- Webb placed an outstanding ball for junior midfielder Andrew Valbuena in the 75th minute, but Valbuena's header was corralled by goalkeeper Samuel Pelletier. In the 76th minute, freshman midfielder Enrique Hernandez saw his deflected cross hit the bar.
- Sturm nearly put the game away in the 94th minute with a drive from the right side of the box, which was turned aside by a diving Pelletier.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Panthers Head Coach Ryan Dickson: "We knew the game was going to be very tough and physical. We started a little slow and gave up a sloppy goal off a quick free kick. After that we started to settle into the game and Blake Webb scored a great free-kick goal with less than a minute left in the first half. We talked about what we needed to do in the second half, and we went out and performed. We knew they wanted to feed off set pieces in overtime, but our defenders were excellent all night and defended everything they threw at us. We ended up getting the win with a fantastic volley from 25 yards by Blake Webb off a Piedmont clearance."
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Webb leads the Panthers in goals (4), assists (4) and points (12), as he ranks in the top-14 in all three categories in the USA South.
- Wright (3-3-1) earned his third collegiate win in net, as he has held opponents to two or less goals in all seven of his starts.
- LaGrange led the shots-on-goal category, 7-2, while Piedmont held a 22-12 edge in overall shots.
- Webb tallied a team-high five shots with three being on net, while Sturm contributed with a pair of shots on target.
- LaGrange snapped a three-game losing streak to Piedmont, as the Panthers picked up their first win in the rivalry since a 2-1 decision on Oct. 17, 2015.
- The Panthers will take on USA South-foe Maryville on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Maryville, Tennessee.