ASHLAND – The first half of last Tuesday’s Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) men’s soccer opener between Randolph-Macon and Roanoke seemed like a start-of-season mixer. After the teams spent 45 minutes giving each other old-school Facebook pokes in a pouring rain, they went to work.
Each team had three shots in the first half, but combined for 19 in the second half, 12 by Randolph-Macon. But after 110 minutes of action, the scoreboard still read 0-0, and both teams left Nunnally Field with a point, lessons learned, and a taste of dissatisfaction.
“Our guys put a full 110-minute performance in,” Randolph-Macon head coach Josh Laux said. “I thought we were great from an effort standpoint, and from an organizational standpoint. We stayed to the game plan, no matter what.”
Senior Penny Senior had two of his game-high seven shots early in the second half in a two-minute stretch, both saved by Maroon goalkeeper Zach Behe. In the 66th and 68th minutes respectively, Senior missed the goal wide right and had another shot attempt blocked.
The final 20 minutes of regulation bore little resemblance to what had taken place previously. The sense of urgency for both teams created plenty of opportunity. A Colton Howell shot in the 81st minute was stopped by Behe, while Yellow Jacket goalkeeper Adam Braithwaite and his defensive cohorts turned back three consecutive corners by Roanoke just before regulation concluded.
Braithwaite kept hope alive in the opening minute of overtime, denying Roanoke’s Michael Ramsey. Another Ramsey shot in the 100th minute was also saved by the freshman who has started every game so far for the Yellow Jackets.
“He’s playing really well right now,” Laux said of Braithwaite. “He’s level-headed, he’s got great positioning. We try not to make him make too many big saves, but he made a couple of big ones in this game.”
On Saturday night, Randolph-Macon began a stretch of four road games over their next five contests in Farmville at Hampden-Sydney. Despite being outshot by the Tigers 14-6, the Yellow Jackets scored three unassisted goals, quelling a late comeback attempt to win 3-2.
Bogue Cummings scored the only goal of the first half in the 42nd minute on the only shot taken by Randolph-Macon before intermission. Bryce Martin’s goal in the 67th minute made it 2-0.
After a Hampden-Sydney goal in the 80th minute, Chazz Jones scored the game-winner less than two minutes later. Now 6-2-1, Randolph-Macon next travels to Greensboro, North Carolina to face Guilford, the team who eliminated them from the 2020 ODAC Tournament, on Wednesday, then will host Bridgewater for Homecoming Saturday at 11 a.m.
Rob Witham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.