Ruud Grol (3), celebrates his goal in the first half with Callum Mordey (18) and Martin Lugo (13) during GGC’s season opening soccer game Friday in Lawrenceville. (Photo: Rod Reilly/GGC)
LAWRENCEVILLE — The last 21 seconds of Georgia Gwinnett’s men’s soccer opener seemed like an eternity.
That was due in part to a 24-minute delay as the power went out with the Grizzlies leading 2-1 over Thomas University during the GGC Men’s Soccer Tournament.
However, once the delay was over, all momentum was stopped as GGC ran out the remaining 21 seconds to pick up the season-opening win.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” GGC head coach Steve DeCou said. “It was a weird way to open the season, but we’ll take the win.”
GGC had multiple opportunities early in the first half. Rene Enang and German Rodriguez each had shots on goal, but they were directly to Thomas goalkeeper Andi Haffer.
Then, with 8:09 left in the first half, Berkmar-graduate Martin Lugo took a shot from the outside, finding the back of the net to give the Grizzlies a one-goal lead.
Later, as time was running out in the half, GGC continued to press and ended up with a free kick from 35-yards out with less than 10 seconds to go. A Thomas defender interfered with the initial free kick, giving the Grizzlies one more opportunity to which Callum Mordey made them pay.
“That goal was huge,” DeCou said. “It completely changed the momentum of the game.”
The Grizzlies had success pressuring the Night Hawks all night as Thomas had trouble getting the ball past the midfield. Each time the back line possessed the ball, GGC’s forwards were on them, forcing them to make plays.
“We have to do that if we want to be successful,” DeCou said. “Pressure leads to turnovers and turnovers lead to goals.”
Thomas got on the board with 17:42 to go in the second half when Rowan Libure found the back of the net.
And the Night Hawks did everything they could to get the equalizing goal, pushing the pace and getting multiple shot opportunities. However, none succeeded.
As Thomas was pushing the ball upfield, the power went out, halting the game, forcing the Night Hawks to take a goal kick when the lights came back on.
“It’s a good win for us,” DeCou said. “The field opened up for us and we made some big plays. After the way we played in our scrimmages, I’m happy with this result.”