Gulls and Captains draw 1-1 in hard-fought CAC tilt

Gulls and Captains draw 1-1 in hard-fought CAC tilt

SALISBURY, Md. – Through a tough 110 minutes between two of the top teams in the country, the No. 15 Salisbury University men's soccer team played to a 1-1 draw against No. 11 Christopher Newport University Thursday afternoon at the SU Soccer Complex. 

The first half played physical between the two squads with only five shots being fired throughout the 45 minutes, three of which were by the Captains (12-2-4, 3-1-3 CAC). The best opportunity though was by senior forward Tanner East, who fired a lined ball just inside the left corner of the 18-yard box for a near-post save by Captain goalkeeper Sam Lesko in the seventh minute.

The Sea Gulls (11-1-4, 5-1-1 CAC) held the edge in corner kick attempts at the break with five, as CNU only had two chances from the flag.

The scoring started up in the 57th minute in the favor of the Captains. A cross by Christopher Newport's Preston Key was deflected by senior captain Kyle Westbrook, making its way back to Key's foot. Pushing the ball out quickly, Key ripped a low shot just off the tips of junior goalkeeper Drew Staedeli's gloves, into the left side of the net for the 1-0 lead.

Just six minutes later, Salisbury would cash in on the game-tying goal. With the ball at the feet of sophomore midfielder Brad Martinelli, a takedown inside the 18-yard box by Sean Christein would draw a penalty kick for the Gulls. Lining up to take the shot was East, sending a high right shot into the back of the net.

In the closing minutes of regulation, CNU saw two opportunities get pushed away by Staedeli, who came up big in extra time. 

Through the extra 20 minutes, the Captains had seven shots, two on goal that Staedeli turned away, while the Gulls saw two chances in the second overtime go just wide. 

The Salisbury defense held strong through the 110 minutes, only allowing six shots on target. Seniors Logan Becker and Westbrook and junior Cy McNeill played the entire match, while senior Jeff Byrnes and sophomore Nathaniel Eiben contributed to the solidity of the back wall. Staedeli recorded the draw, making five saves through 110 minutes, moving his record to 11-1-4 for the season.

Prior to the start of the game, the seven seniors were recognized for their performance on the field and in the classroom while donning the maroon and gold. Acknowledged in the ceremony were Benjamin Aryeetey, Nial Krach, Stephen Poorman, East, Byrnes, Westbrook, and Becker. 

The Sea Gulls go on the road for the final two games of the regular season with the first stop at York College of Pennsylvania for the well-known rivalry in the Capital Athletic Conference. Last season, SU defeated the Spartans, 3-1, in the first matchup to claim the regular-season title, but YCP would down the Gulls in the conference title match, 1-0, to take the championship. First touch is set for 3 p.m., at Graham Field.

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