LAWRENCEVILLE – Georgia Gwinnett College’s men’s soccer team used four goals and a combined shutout in goal by Lewis Sharpe and Riley Wildeman for its first win of 2016, defeating Life University 4-0 on Saturday night.
“Tonight’s win was a complete effort by the guys,” GGC head coach Steve DeCou said. “Every player saw time on the pitch and having fresh legs while also allowing others to rest really helped us stay focused, attentive and determined.”
The Grizzlies (1-0-1) dominated the offensive side of the pitch in both halves, tallying 30 total shots in the match. In the opening frame, the Grizzlies fired off 16 attempts while finishing the second half with 14. GGC’s defense held strong throughout the contest, allowing Life (0-3) to convert just four shots on the evening. Sharpe made one save in his 76 minutes in goal while Wildeman made two key stops in the closing minutes of the contest.
Georgia Gwinnett took a 1-0 lead into the intermission when junior Jack Gurr converted a penalty kick with five minutes remaining in the opening half.
Gurr pushed the Grizzlies’ advantage to 2-0 just two minutes into the second half when he received a long ball from defender Andrew White, who was two yards in front of midfield line. Gurr dribbled to the far left corner of the box and flipped his second goal of the contest into the far right corner of the net.
Trailing 2-0, Life’s defense made a crucial error in the 60th minute as the Running Eagles committed a handball inside the 18-yard box, setting up a Grizzly penalty kick. With one swift strike from junior forward Samuel Sampaio Gomes, the Grizzlies took the 3-0 advantage, converting the second successful GGC penalty kick attempt of the evening.
GGC added an insurance goal in the 87th minute as sophomore forward Callum Lees chipped a one-timer into the net off a cross from freshman midfielder Won Il Lee.
“Early in the contest, I really thought Life was playing a solid defensive line," DeCou said. "Their starting keeper in the first half made several key saves that kept them in the match, but the second half we adjusted to some of the things we saw in the first half and made shots when it counted most. Overall, I’m proud of our effort tonight. Now, we need to rest and will have two training sessions on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday’s match.”
The Grizzlies are back in action Wednesday when they host Brewton-Parker in the two squads' first-ever meeting. First touch is set for 5 p.m.