DONALDSON, IN – Freshman striker Manny Awuku scored match-winning goals on consecutive days as the Ancilla College men’s soccer team topped Owens Community College 2-1 on Saturday and NJCAA #2 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College 1-0 in overtime on Sunday.
The Chargers (3-1-0, 3-1-0 Region 12) trailed 1-0 on Saturday after Owens (1-2-0, 0-2-0 Region 12) striker David Ortega-Gonzalez pounced on a turnover deep in Ancilla’s defensive third and finished past Pedro Hernandez in the 48th minute.
Ancilla equalized 20 minutes later when JaCoby Smith fought off two Owens defenders and slotted home a pass from Awuku to make it 1-1.
Awuku would put the finishing touches on the match in the 73rd minute, converting a through ball from Yordan Rivera to give Ancilla the 2-1 victory.
Alex Howe and Hernandez combined to make nine saves in the victory.
“I really liked the composure we showed after giving up the goal,” said Ancilla men’s soccer coach James Drzewiecki. “We had missed some golden opportunities up to that point and then basically gifted them a goal. Instead of wilting, we buckled down and played our best soccer of the match. I was told we carried 80 percent of the possession from the goal on, and that’s really a testament to our players and their willingness to see the match through.”
On Sunday, the Chargers claimed their first victory over a nationally-ranked opponent in program history, defeating last year’s national runner-up Cincinnati State 1-0 in overtime. More impressively, Ancilla did it while playing a man down for nearly 60 minutes.
Despite receiving a red card in only the 42nd minute of the match, Ancilla limited Cincinnati State (1-3-0, 1-3-0 Region 12) to just two shots on goal and forced the scoreless match into extra time.
In the 99th minute, Awuku finally broke free on a through ball from Smith and slid the ball past Cincinnati keeper Ben Steinnecker for the golden goal.
Howe collected two saves, earning his first clean sheet on the season.
“Again, mental toughness was the key here,” said Drzewiecki. “When we picked up that red card, very few would have believed that we would stay with a team the caliber of Cincinnati State. Instead, the guys dug deep and that’s really a testament to their attitudes. We could have easily come out of this weekend with a record of 1-3 and instead we are 3-1. I’m very proud of the desire our guys showed in the matches.”
Ancilla returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Kirtland, OH, for the Lakeland Community College Invitational. The Chargers will kick off against the hosts on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. followed by Sunday’s 1:00 p.m. match against Cuyahoga Community College.