LYNDHURST, N.J. – Twenty-eight seconds away from settling for a draw, Saint Michael's College came up with the golden goal to earn a non-conference, 2-1 double-overtime victory over host Felician University on an unseasonably warm autumn Saturday afternoon at the Lyndhurst Recreation Complex.
Sophomore midfielder Andres Rivas (Caracas, Venezuela/Palmer Trinity School) produced the 110th-minute score for Saint Michael's (3-6-1), concluding a pair of overtime sessions which saw the visitors out-shoot Felician, 9-2.
Under a cloudy sky with temperatures hovering just above 80 degrees, the Purple Knights produced statistical advantages nearly from the opening whistle, garnering two corner kicks in the first two minutes. But most of SMC's best offensive opportunities were either called for offside or broken up before a shot could be taken.
Felician (4-6-2) was the first team on the scoreboard. In the 36th minute, junior midfielder Maxi Ojeda (Yonkers, N.Y./DeWitt Clinton) attempted a free kick from above the left side of the 18-yard box. He sent the ball over the Purple Knight wall and bent it inside the left post for his fourth goal of the season. Despite trailing, 9-4, in shots, the Golden Falcons carried the 1-0 lead into halftime.
Felician was rarely dangerous in period two. The Golden Falcon defense held off SMC until 16:51 remained in regulation, when Rivas fed classmate Justin D'Orlando (Middleton, Mass./Bridgton Academy) for the equalizer. D'Orlando pushed a low shot past Felician sophomore goalkeeper Joe Sartori (Wood-Ridge, N.J./Wood-Ridge).
Felician got off only one more shot for the balance of regular time. On a corner kick opportunity, Gabe Viana (Lyndhurst, N.J/Lyndhurst) sent the ball over the crossbar in the 83rd minute.
The Golden Falcons had one strong scoring chance in each overtime period. With 55 seconds to play in the first extra session, Gabriel Pineda (Miami, Fla./Immaculata-La Salle), the second Saint Michael's keeper of the afternoon, made a quick-reaction save from short range on a Viana offering. Felician's top scorer, Christopher McLaughlin (Hollis, N.Y./Preparatory Academy for Writers), had an open look at the frame in the 107th minute, but was unable to bend the ball and saw it travel wide right.
D'Orlando was involved again on the game-winning play. As the game clock wound down, he sent a cross parallel to the goal line from the left side. The ball found its way to the foot of Rivas, who broke the Golden Falcons' hearts with his second goal of the season.
Sartori made a career-high seven saves in defeat. SMC, which led, 6-2 in corner kicks, finished with a shot advantage of 25-10, led by five each from Rivas and Cris Cervantes (Barranquilla, Colombia/Doral Academy Charter School). Pineda played the final 64:32 and stopped three shots.
Felician is in Lyndhurst again to entertain Nyack College in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference play on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.