Patriots Advance to Men's Soccer Championship Game 2-1 over #1 Young Harris

Patriots Advance to Men's Soccer Championship Game 2-1 over #1 Young Harris

EVANS, GA – Sophomore defender Magnus Hoejland scored his first career goal on a header in the 62nd minute and junior goalkeeper Maximiliano Rocco stopped a penalty kick with 3:42 remaining to give Francis Marion University a stunning 2-1 upset of top-seeded and ninth-ranked Young Harris College, Friday evening (Nov. 15) in the semifinals of the 2019 Peach Belt Conference Men's Soccer Tournament.

The fourth-seeded Patriots improve to 14-4-1 and advance to the PBC championship match on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga.  FMU will face the Clayton State University/Lander University winner.

First-year FMU head coach Luis Rincon has guided his squad to the most victories in a season since 2008 and to the program's fourth-ever title match appearance.  The Patriots won the 1999 and 2008 tournament crowns.

FMU sophomore forward Javier Bello gave Francis Marion a 1-0 lead at the 28:35 mark.  Freshman midfielder Alvaro Zamora began the sequence with a chip pass up the right sideline to senior Travis Cooke.  Cooke dribbled toward the end line where he crossed the ball into the 6-year box, but Young Harris goalkeeper Alex Iglesias was unable to corral the ball and Bello tapped the ball in from two yards out at the near post.

Young Harris found the equalizing goal amid a quagmire of soil 2:26 before halftime.  A free kick from the right side landed in a pit of mud inside the penalty area and before FMU could clear the ball, Hayden Tucker blasted the ball into the net to deadlock the match at 1-1.  The Blanchard Woods Park field took rain almost the entire day and this semifinal was the third contest to be played on the pitch Friday.

The winning score came at the 61:47 mark.  Hoejland came forward into the attacking end as the Patriots had a free kick on the Young Harris side of midway.  The ball ping-ponged around until sophomore midfielder Jafet Santiago gained possession on the right side and he served the ball into the box where the 6'3" Hoejland rose up and headed the ball off the crossbar and down into the goal.

Young Harris's only on-target attempt to again tie the score came on the penalty kick opportunity in the 87th minute.  A FMU player was called for a push in the back in the penalty area as Young Harris desperately served the ball into a dangerous area.  However, Rocco dove to his left to push away the penalty attempt by Dani Fischer.

Rocco finished with two saves, while Iglesias made one stop.

Both sides ended the match with eight shots, while the Mountain Lions held a 10-3 advantage in corner kicks.