Zechman had tied the match in the 67th minute with his second score of the game, knotting the contest at two, but in the 80th minute, Cardenas took a pass from Jonathan Ray and fired a shot into the upper right hand corner of the net for the game-winning goal. It was his sixth goal of the season, and advanced Campbell to 9-6-2 overall and 5-2 in Big South play. VMI dropped to 1-14-2 and 1-6-1 in conference action.
The match was played relatively evenly throughout on the brisk fall day, as CU held a 17-10 edge in shots, but that edge was reduced to 7-5 when looking at shots on goal.
The Keydets struck first in the 18th minute. After earning two corner kicks early, Matt Seinfeld took another at 17:08. The resultant free ball came loose at the top of the box, and Zechman collected it and beat diving CU keeper Ethan Hall, giving VMI the early 1-0 lead.
The teams exchanged saves over the next three minutes, but VMI goalie Adrian Dominguez saw his save deflect off him for a rebound chance. Jhuvon Francis took advantage, beating Dominguez for his fourth goal of the year, and the match was tied 1-1.
The home team would take the lead in the 44th minute, as Cardenas scored off a double-assist, putting CU up 2-1. That would be the score at halftime, as the Camels held a 9-5 edge in shots and had overcome three Dominguez saves.
The Keydets pushed the pace in the opening minutes of the second half, and in the 63rd minute, had perhaps their best chance of the period. Off a Seinfeld corner, the deflected ball came loose to Stephen Mallon. Mallon put a shot towards the net, but a Campbell defender was able to knock the ball away for the team save, preserving the home squad’s 2-1 edge.
Just moments later, that lead was no more. In the 67th minute, Zechman collected a free ball at the top of the box. He then fired a shot past Hall and into the upper left corner of the net, tying the match at 2.
The Camels went on to have the next three shots of the match, the only three over the next 12-plus minutes. It was the fourth shot, however, that made the difference, as that was Cardenas’ goal from Ray, giving the home team a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish.
VMI was able to muster a last-second shot by Kyle Farmer, but it bounced wide and the Keydets fell to defeat.
Dominguez made four saves for VMI in his second straight start, while Hall stopped two shots for CU and the Camels had the crucial team save as well. The home team also held a 7-4 edge in corner kicks.
VMI men’s soccer will close out its regular season on Nov. 5, as the Keydets play host to High Point on Senior Day. Match time is set for 1 p.m., and prior to the contest, the VMI senior class will be recognized.