Written by Spencer King
SEWANEE, Tenn. - It was a cold, wet night under the Puett Field lights as the Sewanee Men's soccer team kicked off their home opener against Emory, but the Tigers fell short to the Eagles, 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Despite rugged conditions, the crowd was loud for the "Black Out" night and the product was anything but dull. Eight minutes into the game, Emory striker Jason McCartney picked the ball up with his right foot and fired a shot from outside the box that curved into the top corner, leaving the crowd stunned. It was a spectacular strike that Sewanee could only watch as it put the Eagles up 1-0.
Sewanee was put under pressure after that with corner kicks and shots peppering a Sewanee defense that dealt with the danger nicely and stood firm. In the 19th minute defender Zach Zimmerman won Sewanee's first corner kick of the match, and until the 38th minute play was back and forth the between the two squads.
Keegan McCombie of Emory matched his screamer earlier in the match for Emory with some magic of his own. Flicking the ball over a defender, McCombie hit a volley that blasted off his foot and beat Sewanee goalkeeper Will Merriman to the left of the goal.
After a spirited halftime talk from Coach Tony Pacella, the Tigers looked to fight back into the game but were pegged back yet again by McCombie in the 63rd minute. It looked like too steep of a mountain to climb for the Tigers but what happened next was almost sensational. In the 66th minute, center back Johnny McNeill volleyed in for the Tigers' first goal of the game from Severin Velasco.
The crowed roared and the final two minutes were played furiously, with Sewanee trying to bomb down the pitch and produce a winner at the dying embers of the game. All in all it was a decent performance for Sewanee, as they put together a courageous display against the best team they have faced all season.
The Tigers will look to continue their winning ways from the past weekend on Sept. 20, when the Purple and Gold travel to Piedmont. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. from Demorest, Ga.