Â DONALDSON, IN â€“ Freshman striker Manny Awuku scored match-winning goals on consecutive days as the Ancilla College menâ€™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 Ancillaâ€™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.
â€śI really liked the composure we showed after giving up the goal,â€ť said Ancilla menâ€™s soccer coach James Drzewiecki.Â â€śWe had missed some golden opportunities up to that point and then basically gifted them a goal.Â Instead of wilting, we buckled down and played our best soccer of the match.Â I was told we carried 80 percent of the possession from the goal on, and thatâ€™s really a testament to our players and their willingness to see the match through.â€ť
On Sunday, the Chargers claimed their first victory over a nationally-ranked opponent in program history, defeating last yearâ€™s national runner-up Cincinnati State 1-0 in overtime.Â 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.
â€śAgain, mental toughness was the key here,â€ť said Drzewiecki.Â â€śWhen we picked up that red card, very few would have believed that we would stay with a team the caliber of Cincinnati State.Â Instead, the guys dug deep and thatâ€™s really a testament to their attitudes.Â We could have easily come out of this weekend with a record of 1-3 and instead we are 3-1.Â Iâ€™m very proud of the desire our guys showed in the matches.â€ť
Ancilla returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Kirtland, OH, for the Lakeland Community College Invitational.Â The Chargers will kick off against the hosts on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. followed by Sundayâ€™s 1:00 p.m. match against Cuyahoga Community College.