Despite a rough beginning, the Bruins men’s soccer team overcame an early deficit last Friday night to beat Chowan University 4-2.
The team struggled to overcome the Hawks’ defensive pressure in the first half of the match. Forwards Mark Sterr and Matt Moore combined with a give-and-go pass that nearly resulted in a goal in the first 10 minutes, but Moore’s hurried shot went wide.
At the opposite end, the Chowan offense was led by Antonio Carrabotta, who took a pass and dribbled up the field before chipping the ball over Bruins goalkeeper Jon Sandy to put Chowan up 1-0.
The Bruins responded quickly, passing it downfield well, but a shot by Sterr was blocked by the Chowan goalkeeper. Although Sterr’s shot didn’t go in, the Hawks fumbled to clear the ball out, showing weak defensive spots that would later allow the Bruins to score.
The Bruins found themselves in an even deeper hole when Jose Oteze took a long cross from Chowan midfielders to score again. Oteze shot the ball through a crowd of players into the back of the net, giving Chowan a solid 2-0 lead.
In spite of their exhaustion, the Bruins rallied back, scoring four straight unanswered goals in the second half. Midfielder Caleb McKisic started the comeback, taking a loose ball on a free kick and volleying it past an astonished Chowan goalkeeper.
“That first goal gave us the excitement and momentum,” Coach Jesse McCormick said. “We’ve got to come out with that type of energy.”
The cheering had barely stopped when forward Travis Woodham scored again on a cross from Ryan McCarty, tapping in the ball from six yards out. Just two minutes later Woodham scored again, chasing down a deflected ball that the Chowan defense had attempted to clear out and sending it past the goalkeeper into an empty net.
McCarty and Woodham combined once more in the 84th minute as Woodham took a low cross from his teammate and slotted it home, completing his hat trick and bringing the score to 4-2.
“We showed a lot of heart as a team in the second half,” Woodham said. Woodham said he was given perfect opportunities to score, and he ultimately felt it came down to being in the right place at the right time.