Spartans Knock off VMI in Double Overtime Thriller
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LEXINGTON, Va. – Just when it looked like a tie was inevitable, freshman Tamaya Tompoe of the USC Upstate women's soccer team scored a decisive double overtime game-winning goal to send the Spartans to a season-opening 1-0 victory at VMI Friday evening at Patchin Field.
With time running out and both clubs looking to escape with a season-opening win, Tompoe took a pass from Michelle Calmeyn and sent a shot that was deflected and sailed over the head of VMI keeper Mackenzie Harrmann to give the Spartans a win in their season-opener for the first time in four years.
"As a coaching staff we went into this game with a lot of confidence," head coach Abby Minihan said. "I think in the girls' minds there was a bit of a question mark, but they came together in overtime and picked each other up and had the resolve to keep going and get it done."
Upstate recorded three shots in double overtime, the final of which sent the Spartans to celebration. Minihan picked up her first career victory as a head coach in thrilling fashion as she looks to lead the Spartans to their first winning season in eight years.
The Spartans had their scoring chances early with one of their best opportunities coming in the 12th minute when Courtney Reilly lined up a corner kick and sent a perfect serve into the box, but Michelle Calmeyn's header found the hands of VMI's Harrmann, who leaped to make the save.
Upstate managed six first-half shots, while VMI sent four shots toward goal and both squads attempted a single corner kick.
The Keydets came out firing to open the second half and Allie Segura found herself with a point blank shot that sailed just wide of the target in the 46th minute.
"We found more of a rhythm at the end of the first half and corrected our mistakes at halftime," Minihan said. "We went back into the second half with confidence."
Upstate responded with two shots of their own over the next 90 seconds, but Katrina Savoy's attempt was blocked in the 47th minute and moments later Calmeyn's third shot of the contest was wide of the mark.
"We dominated the game with possession, but struggled to convert with that final pass or final cross in the box," Minihan said. "I felt like at times we needed to be more selfish than we were."
Upstate goalkeeper Sarah Plantz put her talents on display in the 54th minute when Christelle Ndongo sent a shot toward goal, but the junior made a diving save to keep the Keydets off the board and the game deadlocked.
The Spartans dominated the final 15 minutes of regulation, recording two shots and attempting a pair of corner kicks, but it was VMI who had the last chance effort with a shot from 25 yards out that resulted in Plantz's fourth save of the evening.
Tompoe checked in just three minutes into the overtime period and quickly found herself in the action, but her 96th minute shot was corralled by Harrmann.
After 10 more minutes of scoreless action, the Spartans and Keydets went to double overtime where Upstate was on the attack again and Tompoe would knock home the game-winner in the 107th minute.
Plantz was perfect in goal for the Spartans, recording five saves and not allowing a goal in all 107 minutes of action. Harrmann was the tough-luck loser for VMI as she notched four saves but allowed the game's only goal.
The Spartans return to action on Monday evening for their home opener, welcoming Charleston Southern to town for a 6 p.m. kickoff at County University Stadium.
Upstate is searching for its first 2-0 start in the program's 13-year history.
- Congratulations to Abby Minihan on picking up her first victory as a head coach -