Providence, RI- A clutch goal by junior forward Jon Okafor in the 88th minute of play evened the score 1-1 and forced overtime during the home opener for the Brown men's soccer team (0-0-1) this afternoon against Lehigh (1-1-1). Both teams battled through two overtimes, but neither could find the back of the net as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Brown came out firing in the first 45 minutes of play as the squad out-shot Lehigh 8-4. Sophomore forward Austin Mandel (Tarzana, CA) nailed a shot right at Lehigh’s goalkeeper, Jonathan Nydell, at the 15-minute mark, and senior T.J. Thompson (Atkinson, NH) received a pass from T.J. Popolizio (Rexford, NY) and booted it toward the net. Nydell once again stopped the ball, as he picked up two of his nine saves in the first period.
The Bears offense continued to attack in the second period, as Thompson went on a breakaway at the 37:04 mark but couldn’t convert, and Nydell picked up a header by Okafor 10 minutes later to keep the Bears off the scoreboard.
Lehigh tallied its only shot in the period at the 64:42 mark when Austin Decker blasted a shot past Brown goalkeeper Paul Grandstrand (Orono, MN) to take a 1-0 lead. The goal was his first of the season, and assists were awarded to both Kevin Strunk and Ayo Olasupo.
Brown continued to pressure the Mountain Hawks offensively, as the squad tallied 15 shots in the second stanza. While it seemed like the Bears had been defeated, Okafor came up with a huge goal at the 88:39 mark to even the score, 1-1 after a pass from sophomore Sean Rosa (Montreal, Quebec). The goal was Okafor’s first of the year, the eighth of this career, as Rosa handed out his first assist of the 2009 season, and his second in his career.
The Bears seemed to have momentum on their side during the two overtime periods, as Brown rookies Thomas McNamara (West Nyack, NJ) and Dylan Remick (Inverness, IL) both had great scoring opportunities but they couldn’t crack the Lehigh defense.
The Bears outshot Lehigh 27-8 this afternoon, and posted an 8-0 advantage in corner kicks. Brown’s Grandstrand tallied one save on the afternoon, as Nydell picked up nine in 110:00 minutes of play.
The Bears are back in action next weekend during the adidas-Brown Soccer Classic. Brown will take on SMU at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and will then battle Adelphi at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.