Eagles All Alone In First Place
BC Beats EMU, 2-1
BC’s Sawyer Janes celebrates after scoring in the first half against EMU on Tuesday in Harrisonburg. Janes also scored the game-winner. (Photos by Stephen Mitchell / DN-R)
EMU’s Ryan Eshleman (left) heads the ball over Bridgewater’s Kevin Gorman on Tuesday.
EMU’s Mark Mast (right) and Bridgewater’s Derek Newsome battle for possession Tuesday.
With a crafty kick 22 seconds before the end of regulation, Janes made sure his Eagles never had to journey there.
Minutes after EMU notched an equalizer that seemed to make OT a likely destination, the 5-foot-6, 140-pound super-sub scored his second goal of the night to lift Bridgewater to a thrilling 2-1 victory over its nearby rivals, putting the Eagles in sole possession of first place in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
A high ball nicked an EMU defender and landed at the feet of Janes, who found himself with only goalkeeper Andrew Yoder to beat. Yoder came out of net to cut off the angle, and Janes had two options.
“Just try to get it around him or over him,” Janes said.
The Waynesboro native popped the ball over Yoder, causing a raucous celebration by the Eagles. It was the first time Bridgewater beat EMU since Oct. 4, 2006.
It certainly didn’t come easily.
After the speedy Janes scored on a pretty through-ball from Kevin Gorman 28:28 into the first half, BC held onto its lead until the final minutes.
EMU earned a corner kick, and with 2:11 left in regulation, sophomore Mark Mast scored the equalizer by deflecting teammate Caleb Golladay’s shot into the net.
“No one was marking near post,” said Golladay, who removed his shirt and sprinted half the field after the goal. “They were all going to try to mark back post. I called for it really quick, and he was able to hit me with the ball really well. It took a deflection before it hit and went in. Might have been off Mark [Mast], might have been off a defender, but I was grateful for that deflection.”
Before the crowd could even sober after the game-tying score, Janes responded with the biggest of his team-high five goals this season.
EMU coach Roger Mast initially suspected that Janes was offside, but he checked the game tape after the match and confirmed that the goal was clean.
BC (8-3 overall, 4-1 in the ODAC) needed a win like this after suffering its first ODAC loss of the year Saturday – a 3-0 clunker against Washington and Lee, in which the Eagles played “as passive as we could have,” according to second-year coach Ryan Bennison.
The Eagles were on their heels early Tuesday as well. The Royals (6-6-1, 3-2) dominated the first five minutes, keeping the ball in BC’s defensive end and pushing the action. Less than three minutes in, freshman Christian Rhine got behind the defense and struck a shot that BC goalkeeper TJ Martin saved with an acrobatic leap. Thirty seconds later, Kurtis Blosser blasted a shot off the right goalpost.
“The first five minutes we pressed them really hard and we were able to get a lot of quality shots,” Golladay said. “It was quality play the first five minutes, first 10 minutes. I think if we could have buried one or two of those early, it would have been a different ballgame.”
Martin made another gasp-inducing save with 22:32 remaining. EMU’s Ian Mast streaked down the left side and drilled a shot toward the top right corner, only to see it stopped by the diving net-minder.
“Between [Janes] and TJ Martin, their goalkeeper, those were the difference-makers in today’s game,” Coach Mast said. “TJ Martin made two tremendous saves today. There was a ball that was all but in the net.”
Halftime score: 1-0 BC
Corner kicks: BC 3; EMU 5
Shots on goal: BC 6; EMU 6
Saves: BC 5 (Martin); EMU 4 (Yoder)
Scoring: BC- Janes (Gorman), 28:28; EMU- Mast (Golladay), 87:49; BC- Janes (Tavernaris), 89:39