HARROGATE, Tenn. — The fourth-seeded Railsplitters got past Coker with 4-2 advantage in a penalty kick shootout after the teams played to a 1-1 draw through 110 minutes of action in the first round of the South Atlantic Conference Championship on Tuesday.
Lincoln Memorial was the first team on the board as senior sniper Mario Pinto scooped up a long pass through the middle by freshman Alexandre Leao in the 11th minute and poked the ball past the Cobra keeper to give the Railsplitters an early lead.
Pinto’s team-leading 15th goal of the season moved the Uberlandia, Brazil, native into sole possession of LMU’s career record for goals scored. In just three seasons with the Railsplitters, Pinto has found the back of the next 49 times, surpassing previous record holders John Payette and Frederico Moojen. Pinto is also nearing the all-time school record for points as he sits one shy of tying Payette’s career mark of 113.
Following Pinto’s goal, the two teams combined for only two shots apiece over a 30-minute stretch until Cory Johnson knotted the match at 1-1 in the 42nd minute. Johnson slammed home the Cobra goal from the top of the box after receiving a long pass off the right side from Giouliano Andrade. The game would remained squared at 1-1 at the break as neither team registered a shot in the final three minutes of play.
Offense was hard to come by in the second half as the Railsplitters and Cobras combined for only two shots on goal, both of which were posted by Lincoln Memorial. The ‘Splitters finished with a commanding 11-2 edge in shots over the final 45 minutes of regulation but neither team was able to breakthrough for a goal, sending the match into overtime.
The first overtime period saw the Railsplitters withstand two supreme looks at goal by the Cobras. In the 93rd minute, Coker’s Daniel Jackson found himself in a one-on-one situation with LMU keeper Marcel Barwanietz and the forward chipped the ball past Barwanietz only to be denied by the post. With only a second remaining on the clock in the first overtime period, Brendan McCarron put a header on frame that was turned away by Barwanietz to keep LMU’s hopes alive.
Barwanietz continued his stellar play in the second overtime, keeping the Cobras off the board with two impressive stops. The junior out of Berlin, Germany, denied Noah Gulley in the 105th minute before turning away another last second look by Cory Johnson, sending the game into a penalty kick shootout.
Coker’s Stephen Scrivens and LMU’s Callum Home made the first two attempts of the PK shootout before Barwanietz deflected the Cobras second attempt by Tony Quiroz. Freshman Harry Solomons gave the Railsplitters a 2-1 edge by making good on LMU’s second attempt. Noah Gulley squeezed the third Coker attempt past Barwanietz to briefly tie the shootout, but Yuri Passos made good on his look, providing LMU with a 3-2 cushion. Brendan McCarron was up next for the Cobras, and Barwanietz stonewalled yet another attempt. Pinto finished off the 4-2 penalty kick victory for the Railsplitters by slamming the ball into the back of the net.
For the exception of the first overtime, the Railsplitters out-shot the Cobras in every period, finishing the match with a 19-11 edge in that category. The Railsplitters overcame a 10-5 deficit in corner kicks in the match and a 26-7 disparity on fouls.
Freshman George Burne paced Lincoln Memorial with six shots while Pinto churned out five shot attempts and Alexandre Leao added four looks. Cory Johnson and Daniel Jackson led the Cobras with three shots apiece.
Along with his two huge stops in the shootout, Marcel Barwanietz capped the match with three saves in 110 minutes of work. His counterpart, Kyndle Cobb, also made three saves over that same stretch.
LMU improves to 10-7-1 on the season and earns a spot in Friday’s semifinal match which is set to be held at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C. Coker sees its season end at 9-6-2 overall.
The Railsplitters will play the winner of Tuesday night’s match between No. 1 Queens and No. 8 Catawba.