Box Score (PDF)
EDINBURG, Texas – Through the first three matches of the season, the St. Bonaventure University men's soccer team has worked overtime for its unbeaten record – literally.
And though it seemed perhaps unlikely late in Friday night's contest at Texas Rio Grande Valley, the Bonnies again found late heroics to force extra time before settling for a 1-1 draw in the opener of the UTRGV Invitational.
After being delayed by over an hour due to lightning in the area, the Bonnies and Vaqueros went back-and-forth through the opening half of play and ultimately went to halftime scoreless.
UTRGV (0-0-1) had a great chance in the 53rd minute, but Bonnies keeper Luke Iacobellis kept the scoreboard empty with a diving save to his right.
The hosts broke through in the 65th minute, however, with a goal scored by Isidro Martinez.
The 1-0 score remained until the waning seconds of regulation and it appeared as though the Bonnies unbeaten streak to begin the season might come to a close in the Lone Star State.
The Bonnies had other ideas.
After UTRGV was whistled for a foul with under a minute remaining while trying to drain the clock, the Bonnies received a golden opportunity.
They wouldn't waste it.
Kieran Toland handled free kick duties, delivering a perfect ball to Paul Afful. The reigning Atlantic 10 Co-Offensive Player of the Week came through yet again with a beautiful header to the top right of the net past the Vaqueros keeper for the equalizer at the 89:05 mark of the contest.
St. Bonaventure (2-0-1) controlled the momentum early in the first overtime, creating multiple chances. In the 95th minute, Afful delivered a dangerous low free kick through traffic that was scooped up by the goalkeeper.
Iacobellis made a nice save less than two minutes later following a shot ripped from 20 yards out.
Toland had another free kick opportunity two minutes into the second overtime, this time just outside the box. His shot slipped to the right of the net, however.
Another Bonnies free kick three minutes later saw Afful send his attempt into the UTRGV wall. The rebound ended up in possession of Isaiah Wilson who drilled a turnaround shot wide left.
UTRGV had opportunities as the contest came to a close. Following a red card charged to the Bonnies, the Vaqueros played a man-up for the final four minutes and change.
Angel Lopez nearly ended it with a shot off the post, but Iacobellis saw that there was no rebound opportunity and the Bonnies defense held the rest of the way.
Iacobellis finished with six saves on the night, including three exceptional stops.
St. Bonaventure totaled 12 shots, led by four from Afful and three by Jon-Michael Perkins.
The Bonnies will battle Houston Baptist on Sunday at 5 p.m. EST, 4 p.m. CST, in the finale of the UTRGV Invitational.
GAME NOTES: Toland played in his first game of the season after missing both contests last weekend due to injury … Afful has three goals and an assist through three games … the Bonnies are 3-0-3 in overtime contests the past three seasons … despite the hot and humid conditions, Afful, Wilson and Nicola Bonso played all 110 minutes with Perkins just seconds shy of full time … junior transfer Isaiah Barrett saw his first action with the Bonnies, playing 32 minutes of reserve action .. Houston Baptist fell to Omaha, 1-0 in the opening game of the invitational Friday … UTRGV was playing in its first game of the season after having two games cancelled last weekend due to Hurricane Harvey … nearly 350 miles from Houston, the Edinburg area avoided the worst of the storm this past week … Friday was the first-ever meeting between St. Bonaventure and UTRGV.
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