Nov. 11, 2011
HARRISONBURG, Va. - The Old Dominion University men's soccer team snapped a three-game winless streak on Friday evening as they defeated Georgia State, 5-3, at the JMU Soccer Complex to advance to CAA Championship Game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The win was the 300th career victory for head coach Alan Dawson.
The Monarchs return to the CAA Championship Game for the first time since 2007 when the defeated Towson on penalty kicks, 4-2, to claim the conference tournament title.
On defense for most of the game early, the Monarchs (12-4-1) were able to find their groove midway through the first half. After a couple of close encounters, ODU was able to covert when sophomore Tim Hopkinson's corner kick was perfectly placed for junior Alex De John to head in the ball past GSU goalkeeper Vincent Foermer for his first career goal in the 19th minute. It was the eighth assist on the season for Hopkinson.
In the 35th minute, Hopkinson connected on his ninth goal of the season on a stellar goal from 15 yards past a pair of Panther defenders. Georgia State wasted little time responding as Gimel Gordon cut the lead in half in the 37th minute when he scored on a cross from Alex Vivanco past ODU goalkeeper Victor Francoz.
Both teams began the second half sluggish but it was Georgia State who take advantage first as Ayokunle Lumpkin provided the equalizer in the 62nd minute off a perfect pass from Gordon. With the game tied, ODU would go back to work and Hopkinson was able to put the Monarchs back out front in the 75th minute with his second goal of the game. Alex Vaughan's shot was deflected by GSU's Foermer but Hopkinson was there for the put back.
The Monarchs needed just four minutes before getting on the board again as Georgia State made a critical error with a handball in box. Junior Jordan LeBlanc capitalized for the Monarchs on his second goal of the season to bump the lead up to 4-2.
With a furious push until the end, the Panthers (13-7-2) scored with just three minutes remaining in regulation to cut the lead to one goal when Peter Vania headed in a pass from Jordan Weise. Georgia State would load the box with a last ditch effort to tie the game, but the ball was cleared out to sophomore Gideon Asante who outflanked the lone Panther defender to score easily with under a minute to go to seal the win for Old Dominion. It was the seventh goal of the year for Asante.
ODU, who continues to soar offensively, scored three or more goals for the 10th time in 2011. ODU outshot the Panthers, 21-7, in the match. The effort came against a GSU squad that was the league's best defensive squad, giving up only 15 goals in 21 matches. The five goals were the most scored against the Panthers in 2011.
"We're a very potent offensive team," said Dawson. "In the first half we struggled to get going. We got Tim a little higher in the second half and that changed the game. Getting a win is terrific. It's going to be a great final and we're looking forward to it."
Old Dominion faces the winner of Friday night's game between top-seeded James Madison and No. 4 Delaware on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the JMU Sports Complex.