Thomasville, GA- The Andrew College men's soccer team pulled off the most improbable comeback in the programs history Friday night against Thomas University Nighthawks.
The first half was contolled by the Nighthawks from the opening whistle, scoring just five minutes into the contest. AC would respond just three minutes later with a spectacular chip over the goalkeeper from 20 yards out by Bryan Zuniga assisted by Rasid Jakupovic against the run of play. Thomas would continue to create dangerous chances, and would score two more times taking a 3-1 advantage at half time. The first 30 minutes of the second half would be a battle defensively, with neither team giving much away. The Nighthawks would catch Andrew on the counter in the 75th minute to take a commanding 4-1 lead with just 15 minutes left on the clock, but no one would have guessed what would happen next.
Saige Julien would pick the ball up just inside the attacking half, beating several players off the dribble before slipping a perfectly timed pass through for Reyes Hernandez to finish past the goalkeeper in the 77th minute. Then just two minutes later, Andy Jean-Pierre would whip in a cross from a wide area that would fall to the foot of Reyes Hernandez for a first time shot into the back of the net. The score now 4-3, with time running out, the inconceivable happened. The Tigers Andy Jean-Pierre would find Bryan Zuniga through traffic for a first time goal to equalize things at 4-4 with just five minutes remaining in regulation.
All the momentum was now shifted to AC favor, and just three minutes into OT the Tigers completed the miraculous. Bryan Zuniga picked the ball off a Nighthawk defender, and dribbled around the opposing goalkeeper hammering in the game winner, and his first collegiate hat-trick.
"Tonight was a very special moment for our team, said coach pantazelos. We have a phenomenal group of young men in that locker room. We probably had our worst 45 minutes of play in the first half, followed up by our best 45 minutes of the season in the second. We now know as a team for the remainder of our season, that no matter the circumstances of a game, we are never out of the fight. That is our mindset, we expect to find a way. We are going to enjoy this win for 24 hours, and then get back to work."
Andrew College travels to Milledgeville, GA next Friday for their conference opener.