WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Sophomore midfielder Oliver Peters scored on a 25-yard shot midway through the first overtime period to give Francis Marion University a thrilling 3-2 win over Limestone College, Friday afternoon (Nov. 22) in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Tournament.
FMU, the seventh seed in Super Region 2, improves to 16-4-1and advances to face second-seeded and seventh-ranked Palm Beach Atlantic University (14-2-3) on Sunday at 2 p.m. on the Sailfish's home field. The 10th-seeded Saints end their season 11-7-2.
The 16 victories are the third-most in program history behind a pair of 17-win seasons in 1999 and 2000.
The winning score came at 95:44 as freshman Alvaro Zamora attacked in the Limestone defensive end. He passed to sophomore forward Javier Bello on the left side and his service into the penalty area was cleared out by a Saints player. However, the ball fell to the feet of a hard-charging Peters who laced a worm-burner into the netting. For Peters, who was named the MVP of last week's Peach Belt Conference Tournament, it was his first score of the season and his first in 36 matches as a Patriot.
Limestone outshot Francis Marion 10-7, but the Saints did not record a shot in the overtime session. FMU held a slight 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Patriot junior All-Region goalkeeper Maximiliano Rocco posted four saves. Austin Gunnels played in goal for Limestone, but did not register a save as the Patriots scored on all three of their attempts on frame.
Francis Marion's first shot of the contest proved profitable at 24:55. Sophomore midfielder Jafet Santiago came up with a steal in the Limestone defensive half. He played the ball out to senior midfielder Travis Cooke who returned the ball to Santiago and the Mexican International dribbled into the penalty area, pulled the ball back, and chipped the ball toward the 6-yard box with his left foot. Bello then headed the ball off the keeper's left hand and into the goal for the early lead. It was Bello's team-leading ninth goal of the season.
Limestone rallied to knot the score at 1-1 at the 31:31 mark. A Saints' corner kick went into the penalty area and Nancho Reigada attempted a shot on goal, but Rocco made the save. However, the rebound went to Sebastian Marx who slotted the ball past Rocco and into the netting.
Playing on the left side, FMU sophomore Sam Pollard sent a dangerous service into the penalty area during the 41st minute, but Gunnels pushed the ball away.
In the final 20 seconds of the first half, a long throw-in by Limestone led to a shot by Raphael Bartmann that Rocco dove to his right and pushed away for a corner kick.
Two minutes into the second stanza, Bartmann came up with a steal and fired a 20-yard shot that missed just outside the left post.
FMU took a 2-1 advantage at 54:57, as Pollard passed to Bello and back to Pollard who found Cooke in the penalty area where the Chesapeake, Va., native turned and fired a 12-yard shot into the goal for his sixth tally of the year.
However, Limestone answered with the equalizing score only 17 seconds later as Josiah Ortiz fed Guilherme Gloria for a 6-yard tap-in goal.
FMU sophomore Nestor Nunez shot wide of the goal in the 72nd minute and high from 18 yards out in the 74th minute. Rocco made a save on a Limestone attempt in the 84th minute setting the stage for extra time.
Francis Marion Univ. (16-4-1) def. Limestone (11-7-2) 3-2 in OT
Date: 11/22/19 Attendance: 71
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Goals by period 1 2 OT Tot
Limestone........... 1 1 0 - 2
Francis Marion Univ. 1 1 1 - 3
1-0. 24:55 FMU Javier Bello (9) (Jafet Santiago)
1-1. 31:31 LSC Marx, Sebastian (5) (Reigada, Nacho)
2-1. 54:57 FMU Travis Cooke (6) (Sam Pollard)
2-2. 55:14 LSC Gloria, Guilherme (4) (Ortiz, Josiah)
3-2. 95:44 FMU Oliver Peters (1) (unassisted)
Shots: Limestone 10, Francis Marion 7 ; Saves: Limestone 0 (Austin Gunnels 0), Francis Marion 4 (Maximiliano Rocco 4)
NCAA II National Tournament first-round match