By: Wade Neely, Martin Methodist Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications
JACKSON, Miss. – Juan Madrigal slipped a shot into the back of the net with less than a minute in double overtime as the No. 23 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) Men’s Soccer team stunned No. 2 Belhaven (Miss.) University 1-0 Saturday night.
After 119 minutes of scoreless play, it appeared as if the two sides were fated for a draw in a critical Southern States Athletic Conference showdown.
But with just 46 seconds remaining, Madrigal took a pass from Kenneth Monge and slotted it into the back of the net, lifting the RedHawks to their biggest regular-season win in program history.
Just hours after dropping a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to No. 16 William Carey (Miss.) University Friday night, the RedHawks (7-3-1, 4-2-1) responded with a massive victory over the NAIA’s defending national champions.
On a cool, crisp Saturday night, the two teams appeared destined toward a low-scoring affair from the opening kick, with both teams featuring rugged defenses and strong goalkeepers.
That proved true through the first half, with the RedHawks holding a narrow 7-6 shots advantage after the opening 45 minutes of play.
The second half and first extra period would be just as even as the two teams cranked out nine shots apiece before heading into a second and final period of extra time.
The RedHawks posted a 2-1 shot advantage in the second extra period, however, highlighted by Madrigal’s lone shot of the game, which ultimately proved to be the game-winning boot that send the RedHawk bench into a frenzy.
In addition to Madrigal, the RedHawks also received strong efforts from fellow forward Michael Fulton, who kept the Blazers honest with six shots – two of which were on target. Felix Kristofferson and Jonathan Remond also finished with three shots and two shots on goal apiece.
Defensively, goalkeeper Stephen Lunney matched a career-high eight saves in the victory. The junior also notched eight saves in a win over Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) University on Sept. 20, 2011. The shutout also marked Lunney’s fifth clean sheet of the season.
The win marked the biggest regular-season victory in the history of the RedHawk program and the program’s biggest result since notching a 1-1 draw against then-No.1 Lindenwood (Mo.) University on Sept. 9, 2005.
The win also snapped a 10-match win streak for the Blazers (11-3-1, 7-1), who had not lost since a 1-0 defeat to Indiana Wesleyan University in early September. The defeat also marked the first at home for the Blazers this season and their first regular-season home loss since a 3-1 defeat to the University of Mobile on Oct. 20, 2012.
The RedHawks will now enjoy a few days of rest before returning to action Oct. 25 when they host Brewton-Parker (Ga.) College.
Kickoff in next Friday’s match is set for 4 p.m. at the East Campus Soccer Complex in Pulaski.