|Asare-Bediako's OT Goal Vaults Hatters Over Mercer|
DeLand, Fla. - Senior forward Ryan Asare-Bediako (Tampa, Fla.) ended a long, soggy evening for the Stetson men's soccer team (4-5-1, 1-1-0 Atlantic Sun) with a 96th minute golden goal that gave the Hatters a 1-0 overtime win over visiting A-Sun rival Mercer (5-6-1, 1-3-0 A-Sun) on Sunday evening. Sophomore goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl (Blaichach, Germany) recorded his third shutout of the season.
The match was played in a driving rainstorm with occasional gusting winds; Stetson handled the conditions admirably to out-shoot Mercer 18-8 and gain a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
Both teams had chances to score in regulation but neither the Hatters nor the Bears could finish any buildup before the 90-minute regulation expired. Stetson controlled play throughout the overtime period until finally, in the 96th minute, a sustained possession saw junior midfielder Kai Eckenrode (Springfield, Va.) draw defenders at the top of the box and slip the ball forward to Asare-Bediako, who finished a point-blank shot to the lower right corner past diving Mercer goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh. The goal set off a raucous celebration as Asare-Bediako was mobbed by his Stetson teammates.
The victory was Stetson's first in overtime since beating USC Upstate 2-1 in 2OT at home October 20, 2010; Asare-Bediako also had the golden goal in that match. Schnabl, who made two saves in tonight's match, notched his eighth career shutout to tie Tim Riek '02 for third all-time in Stetson men's soccer history. Ed Funcheon '89 holds the career record with 11 clean sheets.
"Our team played very well tonight to overcome adverse weather," Head Coach T. Logan Fleck said. "Our back four played tremendously and denied Mercer opportunities all night. A-B (Asare-Bediako) stepped up in overtime and put away the goal we had to have to get that first conference win."
Stetson faces a key two-match A-Sun road trip next weekend when it visits defending tournament champion ETSU at 7:00 pm Friday and USC Upstate at 12:00 pm Sunday. The Hatters will be returning to Summers-Taylor Stadium for the first time since being dethroned as A-Sun tournament champions in overtime by the host Buccaneers there last November. Fans can watch the matches on ASun.TV (if made available by ETSU/USC Upstate) and follow Live Stats links from GoHatters.com.
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