WILSON, N.C. --- Nick Ahlquist scored three minutes into extra time to lead the Barton College men's soccer team to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Lees-McRae College on Saturday evening in Conference Carolinas play.
Barton (7-7-1, 6-4 CC) edged Lees-McRae (3-9-3, 2-4-2 CC) by a 10-9 margin in shots, including a 6-3 advantage in the second half, while holding a slim 4-3 edge in corners. The win marks Barton's first victory over the Bobcats since 2004.
Ahlquist netted the lone goal of the match for either side, scoring the extra time winner for the Bulldogs as Dante De Luca tallied an assist and a team-high three shots. Vasily Yakimkin made two saves to keep a clean sheet for the Bulldogs.
Andrew Shoemaker (Cary, N.C.), Preston Shahdad (Charlotte, N.C.) and James Smith (Eastbourne, England) each tallied two shots for the Bobcats, as Rusling posted another strong performance with four saves.
The Bobcats nearly snatched an early lead in the 34th minute, when a pair of efforts from Smith and Shoemaker failed to make it through to goal from close range before Smith's follow-up chance sailed just wide of the post. Barton countered several minutes later, forcing Rusling into two skillful saves off a header by Jovan Gracia as well as an effort from Richard Worthy on the right flank.
Perhaps the best scoring chances of the second half came off the foot of De Luca in the 80th and 88th minutes, when the sophomore midfielder forced a pair of stops by Rusling to preserve the deadlock and send the match into extra time.
The Bobcats opened extra time with a concerted push forward, resulting in a chance for Shoemaker to net the winner from the penalty spot early in the 92nd minute. Shoemaker's effort nearly found the back netting, just catching the woodwork as Scott Hudgins' (Fort Myers, Fla.) long-range chance on the ensuing corner was corralled by Yakimkin.
Barton quickly countered off the set piece, pushing forward and finding the deciding goal when Ahlquist knocked in the winner off the far post following a through ball from De Luca in the early moments of the 93rd minute.
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Tuesday when the Bobcats host King College in league play at 7:30 p.m. on Tate Field.
- LMC -