Goal in Second OT Gives Upstate Dramatic Win Over VMI
Courtesy: SportsPhotoGuy.com for VMI
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LEXINGTON, Va. – After 106 minutes of scoreless action, Tamaya Tompoe of the USC Upstate Spartans notched the game-winning goal on a deflection in the second overtime, giving her team a 1-0 win over the VMI Keydets Friday evening at VMI’s Patchin Field. The matchup was the regular season opener for both schools.

Upstate (1-0) had controlled the pace for the majority of the second extra frame, and after a Katrina Savoy shot was blocked at the top of the box, the Spartans were able to settle the ball to the right of VMI (0-1) goalkeeper Mackenzie Harrmann. Michelle Calmeyn found Tompoe with a pass, placed into the middle of the field, and Tompoe got a twisting shot off from 12 yards out. The attempt was deflected by a VMI defender, changing its arc toward Harrmann and causing it to come in considerably higher. The freshman keeper backpedaled and leapt, but was only able to tip the ball as it went into the back of the net for the game-winner.

“As disappointed as I am with the loss, I felt our team put a tremendous effort into today’s game,” said VMI head coach Bryan Williams. “Playing 106-plus minutes this early in the season can take a lot out of any soccer player. I felt we created chances to win this game, and we were more offensive-minded as a team than we have been during our exhibition matches. I give USC Upstate credit for making the most of their opportunity, and I hope that those that watched this game will enjoy the development of our team going forward, as I see a great deal of potential with this group.”

The game was played under gray, overcast skies, after a slight drizzle had fallen during pregame, and the teams took time to find their footing. The first serious threat came at the 11:32 mark, when the Spartans played a corner kick into the middle of the box. Calmeyn went to the air for a header, but Harrmann left her feet for a leaping save, keeping the game scoreless.

VMI would counter with the next two shots on goal, attempts in the 13th and 23rd minutes, but Upstate keeper Sarah Plantz was able to stop both attempts. From there, the squads settled into a great deal of midfield play, as there were only three shots taken the remainder of the half. Harrmann stopped the lone try on goal, as the visitors put a try on net in the 43rd minute, to no avail.

At halftime, Upstate had a 6-3 edge in shots, while both teams had put two shots on net. Only Calmeyn’s header required extraordinary effort on the part of either keeper, as the game had been a defensive struggle early.

The Keydets came out quickly in the second half, as on their first possession, Christelle Ndongo made a deep run at the visitors’ defense. She then played a cross to Allie Segura, who attempted a leaning shot from well into the box, but hit it just wide.

Ndongo came right back in the 54th minute, nearly scoring on a strong individual effort, but a sprawling save by Plantz kept the Keydets off the scoreboard. The 58th minute saw yet another Keydet try, as a Liz Affronti corner found the head of Nicole Blixt, but the header arched over the goal.

From there, the contest went back into a defensive battle. The Keydets had just two shots the remainder of the half, while, despite posting nine overall shots in the period, the Spartans put just one on frame, a 65th minute try by Savoy that was turned away by Harrmann.

Two particular corner kicks did give the visitors chances, but one resulted in a header that was wide, while the other resulted in an offside violation. After Affronti tried a shot from distance in the 88th minute, the contest was headed for overtime.

In the first extra period, Tompoe nearly ended the contest in the 96th minute. A shot from six yards out, going from Harrmann’s left to right, was stopped on a diving save by the Keydet netminder, keeping the match scoreless. The Keydets put one shot on net, a 98th minute try by Taylor Armstrong, but Plantz scooped up the effort to help ensure a second overtime.

That period opened with an attack by Upstate, but the resultant efforts were waved off to do an offside violation. The teams traded wide shots over the next three minutes, with VMI’s coming from Allie Segura in the 105th minute. That would be the final Keydet shot of the day, as under two minutes later, Savoy had her shot blocked to set up the eventual game-winner.

Harrmann was solid in net in her collegiate debut, making four saves in the setback, while Plantz had five stops in the Upstate win. Despite a 20-12 edge in shots, the Spartans and Keydets both had five tries on goal. 

VMI women’s soccer will return to action next Friday, August 24, as the Keydets play host to Elon at Patchin Field. Game time is set for 5 p.m.