HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA - Freshman Robert Stephens (Williamsburg, VA/Lafayette) earned his first collegiate start on Wednesday against Randolph College and proved he deserved it, scoring two first-half goals to lift the Tigers to a 2-1 win on the road. The win marked the first road and Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) win of the year for the Tigers. Randolph College was ranked 25th a week ago by D3soccer.com, but dropped into the receiving votes section for this weeks poll.
Stephens got the Tigers on the scoreboard in the 13th minute, heading in a cross from the left side from Bo Burns (Raleigh, NC/Leesville Road). Nine minutes later, Stephens collected a loose ball in the box from 18 feet out and, with no defenders around him, lofted the ball high into the right side of the net, appearing to catch the Randolph goalkeeper off guard. In the 28th minute, Jacob Lusczek sent in a crossing pass off the right endline to Corey Sindle who headed in the goal towards the opposite post.
Randolph increased their intensity in the second-half and controlled the ball for a large majority of the second stanza, leading to a 7-2 shot advantage after intermission. The backline Jackson Parker (Raleigh, NC/Sanderson), Gregorio Pacheco (Montclair, NJ/Montclair), Justin Pugh (Richmond, VA/Monacan), and Curran Blackwell (Wilson, NC/Greenfield) along with goalkeeper Duncan Oliphant (Annapolis, MD/Annapolis) stood strong and turned back all the WildCat scoring efforts. However, Sindle came within inches of notching the equalizing goal with less than a minute left, but his strike at the goal hit off the left goal post to preserve the Tiger win.
Each team registered 11 shots and five saves on the night. Strong defensive play by both teams resulted in only three total corner kicks being taken. H-SC was whistled for offsides four times compared to once for the WildCats. A chippy and physical contest, 34 fouls were called along with six yellow cards.
The Tigers will look to get their second ODAC win of the season this Saturday as they host the Wasps of Emory & Henry College at 3 p.m.