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In a pivotal Big South matchup the Radford University Men’s Soccer team played a tough match against the Gardner-Webb University Runnin’ Bulldogs on Senior Night, Oct. 29. The Highlanders eventually fought the second place team in the conference to a 0-0 draw.
Since the Oct. 29 match was the last home game of the season for Men’s Soccer, the seven graduating seniors were honored for their service and sacrifices over the past few years.
Defenders Aldo Macias and Kevin Fleming, midfielders Brian Gwanzura, Anthony Payne and Ryan Stinnett, and forwards Carter Mills and Iyiola Awosika were all introduced to a raucous RU crowd, and each recieved commemorative plaques and standing ovations in honor of their time at RU.
After the pregame ceremonies were completed, the match finally began. The match itself would prove to be a defensive slugfest, as both squads fought bitterly over the 90 minutes of regulation time to gain an advantage over the other. After two full halves of solid defense by both squads, the scoreless affair was sent into overtime.
The only scoring attempt in the first half by RU came from sophomore midfielder Luis Grande, who has been on a recent hot streak since he scored two consecutive goals against Virginia Tech on Oct. 25. Grande’s shot missed near the left post from six yards out, and the miss ensured that the match would remain scoreless for the time being.
Junior goalkeeper Ryan Taylor’s pair of clutch saves kept the Runnin’ Bulldogs from scoring in the 61st minute. Taylor has been trading time between the posts with sophomore goalkeeper Dane Wilson, but Taylor got the start over the second place Runnin’ Bulldogs, who trail only Costal Carolina University in the Big South conference standings.
The teams had plenty of legitimate shots of scoring a goal near the final minutes of regulation, but neither was able to capitalize on their opportunities.
RU outshout the Runnin’ Bulldogs 18-13 while being edged in corner kicks 8-6. Each team had three shots on goal and three saves in front of a dedicated RU crowd, which stayed until the end of the 110 minute match to watch the Highlanders fight to a draw in near freezing temperatures. With the 0-0 tie, RU’s conference record improved to 3-3-1.
“I thought it was a fantastic college soccer game. Our seniors found a way to not lose tonight,” said Head Coach Marc Reeves.
The Highs will conclude the regular season with a pair of road games starting against the Liberty University Flames on Nov. 2.
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