The Columbia College Koalas soccer team, led by a stellar performance from their senior class, pulled off a fantastic comeback in an exciting 4-3 overtime victory on the road against the Bryan College Lions.
After an extended break from both classes and practice due to Hurricane Florence, the Koalas trained on Monday before heading to Dayton, TN for a makeup AAC contest against the Lady Lions. In 2017, the Koalas picked up a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory at home and thought it couldn't be outdone for excitement, but Tuesday's game proved even more incredible as it finished 4-3 to Columbia.
The Lions opened the scoring just eight minutes into the game when Makena Giles scored off a pass from Jessica Chaveiro, but the Koalas responded immediately to knot the score back at 1-1. Senior Heather Blaszak bent a tremendous ball through with the outside of her boot to fellow Senior Ruby Hallam, and the winger cut inside before blasting in at the near post from just outside the box to equalize.
In the fifteenth minute the Lions made it 2-1 as Chaveiro scored an unassisted goal, and they compiled the misery on the Koalas just before halftime when Abby Sweatman notched the Lions' third to make the halftime score 3-1.
Some adjustments at halftime paid dividends for the Koalas, as in the 57th minute they cut the lead to just one. A run down the left wing by Hallam which showed her pace allowed her just enough space to whip a ball across the box, and another Senior, Jaena Dominguez, was on hand to knock the ball in from close range to make it 3-2.
With just under thirteen minutes left, the Koalas made it 3-3, and again it was seniors heavily involved. Sarah DiPiazza had a shot saved by the Lions keeper which fell to Dominguez, and her rebound rolled across the goal and hit the post before bouncing back out. Dominguez continued, however, and dropped it back to Blaszak, who cut across a defender and poked it to DiPiazza who blasted in from close range to send the Koala fans into pandemonium.
Their excitement was not finished, however, as in the first overtime period the Koalas managed to find the game winner in exciting fashion. Blaszak picked up her third assist of the game when she found Hallam on the left wing, and she cut inside before driving a strike in high at the near post to make it 4-3 on the golden goal.
Columbia, now 3-2 (2-1 AAC), returns to action on Saturday at Younts Stadium when they entertain a much improved Brenau University Golden Tigers team.