Afful's Game-Winner Sends Bonnies To Thrilling Start, 1-0 in Overtime at Bucknell

Afful's Game-Winner Sends Bonnies To Thrilling Start, 1-0 in Overtime at Bucknell

Box Score (PDF)

LEWISBURG, Pa. – A pair of outstanding saves from junior goalkeeper Luke Iacobellis forced extra time and senior Paul Afful sealed victory for the St. Bonaventure University men's soccer team with a header goal for a 1-0 overtime triumph in the 2017 season opener at Bucknell.

A free kick set up the game-winning score. Junior Anthony Gaglianese drilled a ball directly to Afful, allowing the All-Atlantic 10 Rookie Team selection from a year ago to create the winning goal. Afful finished with a diving header from inside the box, beating the Bucknell keeper to send the Bonnies home with the win in thrilling fashion just over 92 minutes in.

To reach overtime, Iacobellis came through with heroics of his own. Late in regulation, the native of Toronto registered a great reflex save to his left and deny a header opportunity from the Bison. Then, just before time expired, he tipped a shot over the crossbar to again thwart Bucknell and send the contest to an extra period.

Afful had threatened to break the scoreless deadlock earlier in the second half – during the 55th minute, he hammered a free kick from 25 yards out that Bucknell keeper Ryan Ott corralled. Five minutes previous to that, the Bonnies had another great chance off a free kick as Gaglianese found Nicola Bonso. The Bonnies newcomer from Italy fired a shot off the back post as the visitors again danced with the lead.

Bucknell owned a 5-3 advantage in shots during the opening 45 minutes, but the Bonnies controlled the momentum for the majority of the second half. Following intermission, St. Bonaventure outshot the hosts by a 10-4 margin and finished with a 14-10 edge in shots for the night.

For Afful, Friday's goal not only marked his first game-winner for the Bonnies, but also the first time he has found the back of the net in collegiate action.  

Iacobellis made five saves on the night to record his third career clean sheet. Ott also made five saves for Bucknell.

Along with Bonso, fellow true freshman Shea Currey and redshirt freshman Cole Heilman made their Bonnies debuts. Afful, Bonso, Gaglianese, Remi Dujardin, Jon-Michael Perkins and Anthony Sileo played all 92 minutes and change for St. Bonaventure.

Afful paced the Bonnies with five shots while Kosi Nwafornso registered four.

Friday marked the season-opener for both teams. The Bonnies improved to 2-1-2 all-time against Bucknell after the teams battled to a 1-1 draw on opening weekend last season in Western New York.

The Bonnies will seek a perfect opening weekend when they travel to Robert Morris for a 3 p.m. start on Sunday afternoon outside Pittsburgh.

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