Brevard, N.C. - Tim Blevins came off the bench to score the game-winning goal, leading the Tornados to a thrilling 4-3 victory over the visiting Toccoa Falls College Eagles on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Brevard improves to 2-7-1, 0-4 SAC on the season while Toccoa Falls drops to 3-6.
Scoring in the first half was early and often as both teams had several runs deep into their opponents’ territory and the goalkeepers faced an onslaught of shots. The Tornados struck first, seven minutes into the game when Miika Kastarinen (Jyvasleyla, Finland) ran through the Eagle defense and buried the ball in the net, despite goalkeeper Travis Julian’s (Brazaville, Congo) deflection.
Toccoa Falls nearly scored two minutes later when a corner kick by Evan Strouse (Deland, Fl.) landed in front of an unmarked Jeremy Bill (Pittsburgh, Pa.). However, the Tornado defense recovered to deflect the ball out of the box to end the scoring chance.
Both teams traded shots up until the 31st minute when Kastarinen maneuvered his way through three defenders to find a wide-open Jussi Halonen (Joensuu, Finland) inside the goalie box. Halonen slipped his shot in the bottom right corner of the goal increasing the lead to, 2-0.
The Eagles got on the board in the 42nd minute when Jonathan Yang (Akron, Pa.) led David Eckman (Jakarta, Indonesia) into the box. Eckman took the pass and rolled a shot past the advancing goalkeeper Jerry Hatsady (Orlando, Fl.) to cut the lead in half, 2-1.
Less than a minute later Kyle Hamilton (Peterhead, Scotland) answered when he unleashed a rocket from near midfield off a pass from Henri Erti (Kangasala, Finland). Hamilton’s shot carried the distance and cleared Julian’s fingertips by inches before slamming into the back of the net bringing the score to 3-1.
The score remained the same until halftime. For the half, both goalkeepers were busy as the teams combined for 20 shots, with Toccoa Falls holding the slight advantage 11-9. Julian made two saves on the five shots on goal, while poor shooting by the Eagles led to Hatsady not needing to record a save.
In the second half, the Eagles came out on the attack behind Jake Warren (Gainesville, Ga.) who single-handedly brought the team back into the game. In the 68th minute Warren made a brilliant move in the goalbox, faking Hatsady left before placing his shot in the lower right corner of the goal. In the 83rd minute Eckman made a run through the defense before dropping a pass back to an open Warren who hammered home the shot, tying the game at 3-3.
With most of the crowd assuming the game was going to overtime, the Tornados went on one last attack. After Halonen received a pass from the back, he slipped the ball to Blevins (Boiling Springs, N.C.) who crossed his defender and placed a shot past a diving Julian into the bottom left corner of the net, scoring his first career goal putting Brevard up, 4-3.
After a desperate attack by the Eagles which was cleared after several great plays by Tornado defender Chris Maness (Jacksonville, Fl.), the Tornados celebrated on the field as time ran out.
In the second half, both keepers faced another barrage of shots as Toccoa Falls attempted 12 and Brevard added another six. Hatsady stopped two of the three shots on goal, while Julian allowed the game-winner on the two shots on goal he faced.
The Brevard Men’s Soccer team is back in action on Wednesday, October 1, when they play the host to Queens University of Charlotte, with a kickoff time of 4 p.m. Toccoa Falls returns home to host Warren Wilson College on Monday, September 29 at Toccoa Falls, Ga.