YORK, PA – The nationally ranked York College men's soccer squad opened the season with a double-overtime 0-0 tie against Virginia Wesleyan College on Friday afternoon in the opening round of the Holiday Inn Conference Center/Parma Pizza Classic in York.
The Spartans, who are ranked 11th in the country, are now 0-0-1 while the Marlins are also 0-0-1.
York had a golden opportunity early in the game as Greg Bechard (Newark, Del./St. Mark's) snagged a long outlet pass and got behind the Marlin defense. Bechard collected the ball and with VWC goalie Connor Kirkham coming out to challenge the play, Bechard's shot floated over the crossbar as the Marlins avoided falling into the early hole.
The next great opportunity was the Marlins' as Chris Cooke struck a beautiful shot that Spartan sophomore netminder Charlie Johnson (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) made a sprawling save, keeping the ball out of the York net in the game's 24th minute.
York had a nice opportunity off a Charlie Versen (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y./The Master) corner kick as Spartan defender Ryan Donahue (York, Pa./York Suburban) hit a header into the box but that header couldn't find a Spartan in the box as the ball was collected by Kirkham to halt the threat.
The Marlins ended the half with a near miss as Alex Surprise struck a shot just outside the right post after service in from the right sideline.
The Green and White came out of the intermission and took the play to the Marlins. Unfortunately for York, their shots were consistently off frame, as they couldn't get on the board.
York's great chance in the second half came when Matt Freibaum (Mt. Airy, Md./Linganore) blistered a shot from the 18 that Kirkham stopped with a diving save to keep the game scoreless.
York had a pair of corner kicks in the final two minutes of the regulation but couldn't convert either chance as the squads headed to extra time.
The Marlins recorded the first shot of the overtime but the Spartans got three shots over the final seven minutes of the first extra session as the squads headed to the second overtime.
The Marlins got a great chance just 14 seconds into the second overtime but senior defender Justin Kaiser (Bradenburg, Ky./Menchville) cleared the ball off the line to preserve the shutout and the game. York didn't get any shots in the second overtime as they settled for their first tie of the year.
The stats were very even as both teams had 14 total shots while the Spartans held a slight 10-8 edge in corner kicks.
Johnson recorded three saves in the shutout while Kirkham was forced to make just one save.
The Spartans return to action when they travel to #10 Franklin & Marshall on Saturday in the second round of the tournament. The Diplomats were 1-0 winners over #2 Rutgers-Camden in the tournament's opening contest on Friday afternoon. Kick off on Saturday night is scheduled for 7:00 pm in Lancaster.