Courtesy of Hartwick Sports Information Department
Hartwick 1, Florida Atlantic 1
BOCA RATON, FL – Hartwick scored two goals in a seven-minute span of the second half to battle back from a 1-0 deficit and claim a 2-1 road victory over Florida Atlantic University (2-13-1, 0-7 MAC) on Sunday afternoon at FAU Soccer Stadium in Boca Raton, FL.
A pair of freshmen provided the Hawks' goals in the contest. Midfielder Nick Hills (Garden Suburb, Australia/Univ. of Newcastle) registered his first career tally in the 60th minute. Outside back David Styles (Bognor Regis, England/St. Phillips Howard) secured the game-winner on a free kick just 6:57 later.
“It was a very well-deserved win for us and an important one,” remarked Hartwick skipper John Scott. “I don't feel our record reflects the team that we have. We've had some difficult breaks this season and it was pleasing to get the victory today.”
As was the case in Wednesday's game against Buffalo, the Hawks controlled play in the first half but had nothing to show for it. Instead, it was the host Owls who drew first blood with 3:10 remaining before halftime following a corner kick. Jefferson Dias' service into the Hartwick box produced a scramble and Joe Rodriguez was there to pounce on the ball and give FAU the late tally.
“I felt we really took it to them in the first half,” added Scott. “But we gave up the goal and suddenly we're facing 45 minutes left in our season and down a goal with 45 minutes left on the road. We challenged the guys to respond to the adversity in front of them and they did just that.”
Fourteen minutes, 53 seconds into the second half, Hills evened the match on an easy tap-in following some good ball movement from the Hawks. Freshman forward Marc Russell (Glasgow, Scotland/Woodfarm HS) began the play as he received the ball in the middle of the park inside the Owls' end of the field. He played it wide to 'Wick senior Cleyon Brown (Kingston, Jamaica/Berkshire School) who was able to serve a ball across the goal mouth to Hills and he finished from a yard away to tie the score.
A few minutes later, an FAU foul gave Hartwick a free kick 25 yards from goal. Styles stepped up and hit a shot up and over the wall to the near post. The shot beat Owl goalkeeper Jeremy Crumpton despite a diving attempt to his right and the Hawks had the lead, 2-1.
Over the final 23 minutes of the game, the Owls put the Hawks under some pressure as they pressed for the tying goal. However, the Hartwick defense allowed only two shots over the span with only a Dias effort in the 69th minute making it on target but 'Wick goalkeeper Tom Buckner (Oxfordshire, England/Henley College) was up to the task with one of his three saves on the day.
The Hawks out-shot the host Owls by a margin of 14-9, which included an 8-3 edge in the all-important second half.
Scott praised the efforts of backs Matthew Robertson (Banchory, Scotland/Binghamton Univ.) and Jack Miller (Commack, NY/Commack) as well as the members of the senior class in Brown, Russell Oost-Lievense (Westport, CT/Staples), Tyler Bailey (Spencer, NY/Binghamton Univ.), and Jason Keefe (Springfield, MA/Springfield Central).
“Robertson has struggled through injuries this season but he was immense today for us,” stated Scott. “It was pleasing to see the seniors go out with such a great effort. Cleyon set up the first goal and Russell worked tirelessly for us. Tyler gave a solid performance as always and Jason was a workhorse for us up top.”
The Hawks close out the campaign with a 5-10-2 mark and a 2-5 record in the Mid-American Conference.
“This team has fought through a lot this season. From early season departures to losing some of our guys to season-ending injuries, we continued to battle. This game was a testament to that and we feel very good about moving forward with the group of guys that we have.”