MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. --- Sophomore James Galvani (High Wycombe, England) converted a penalty kick eight seconds into the 96th minute to complete his first hat trick of the season, and lead the Lees-McRae College men's soccer team to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Mount Olive College on Saturday evening in Conference Carolinas action.
Lees-McRae (10-3-1, 7-1 CC) outshot Mount Olive (5-9, 4-4 CC) by a 21-7 margin, including an 11-4 advantage in the first half, while scoring three unanswered goals to erase a 3-1 halftime deficit en route to its sixth straight victory.
Galvani continued his torrid scoring pace of late, registering his first treble of the season to run his goal-scoring total of the last five matches to nine. Freshman Scott Alford (Hillsborough, N.C.) tallied another clutch goal for the Bobcats, nodding home the equalizer with less than a minute remaining in regulation to force extra time.
Fellow rookie James Smith (Eastbourne, England) recorded a season-high two assists, while John Williams (Rutherfordton, England) added a helper of his own. Sophomore Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) made three saves on the night between the pipes for the Bobcats.
Omar Shazly scored a brace to lead Mount Olive, finding the back of the net with each of his two attempts at goal as Tanner Tolston registered the Trojans' first goal. Vieux Sarr, Frank Boateng, Tyler Jameson, and Murilo Pelegrino each tallied an assist in the match, as Kyle Lavender registered 12 saves in goal for the Trojans.
Galvani opened the scoring early in the first half, putting the Bobcats up 1-0 midway through the 17th minute when Williams' shot attempt rebounded off the keeper and fell to him at the goal mouth. Tolston answered in the 30th minute, pulling the Trojans back on terms off a Jameson free kick to knot the contest at 1-1.
Shazly put Mount Olive ahead 40 seconds later, taking a through ball from Sarr and beating the keeper on a breakaway to give the Trojans a 2-1 advantage. The freshman forward doubled the advantage late in the 37th minute, splitting two defenders following a combined feed from Pelegrino and Boateng before slotting home the finish to send the Trojans into the interval with a 3-1 lead.
Galvani brought the Bobcats back within one midway through the 48th minute, banging a rebound into the back of the net off a Smith shot to cut the Mount Olive advantage to 3-2. The Bobcats would dictate proceedings for much of the second half, outshooting the Trojans by a 9-3 margin in the period.
Mount Olive looked certain to hold on for the victory until the final minute, when Smith swung a corner kick to the far post with 30 seconds left in regulation, finding Alford for the free header to send the match into extra time knotted at 3-3.
The extra time period proved uneventful until the early moments of the 96th minute, when a Bobcat cross came in contact with a Trojan defender's hand inside the area, prompting the referee to point to the spot and award a penalty kick for Lees-McRae. Galvani calmly stepped to the ball and delivered a perfect penalty, slotting it into the bottom corner for the winner.
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Wednesday when the Bobcats host Erskine College in a conference matchup at Tate Field. The match is slated to kick off at 7 p.m. following the Bobcats' senior night festivities.
- LMC -