08/16/12 — Herlihy's PK lifts Warriors in season opener

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Herlihy's PK lifts Warriors in season opener

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 16, 2012 1:48 PM

Eastern Wayne was backed into a corner, its knees wobbling and one blow away from hitting the canvas.

The Warriors refused to go away and Joe Herlihy's penalty kick in stoppage time helped Eastern Wayne escape with a 4-3 victory on Wednesday evening at Goldsboro. It was the season opener for both teams.

Damon Pate's goal off Josh Matias' assist in the sixth minute gave the Cougars an early 1-0 lead. Pate just missed extending Goldsboro's lead in the eighth minute as his shot sailed wide.

Cougars' goal keeper Chris Wiggins preserved his team's lead with a sprawling save on the Warriors' Ethan Zadrozny in the 11th minute. Zadrozny tied the game late in the first half as his corner kick deflected off of Wiggins' hands and into the goal.

Pate received a pass from Matias inside the 18-yard box just before halftime and beat Eastern Wayne keeper Brad Makdad to give Goldsboro a 2-1 advantage.

"We didn't have but five days of conditioning," said Cougars' head coach Terry Walls. "I was real pleased with our effort and when we were on the offensive end our defense didn't stand around and pick daisies. We probably ran out of gas in the last five to eight minutes, but that is not going to happen much longer."

Jonathan Stevens headed Pate's free kick past Makdad early in the second half to increase Goldsboro's lead to 3-1.

As the Cougars (0-1-0 overall) began to show signs of fatigue, the Warriors (1-0-0) went on the attack. Zadrozny dribbled into the 18-yard box, beat three defenders and fired a shot past Wiggins to cut the deficit to 3-2 in the 63rd minute.

Mitchell Kaspar collected a rebound off of a corner kick in a crowded 18-yard box and somehow slipped a shot past Wiggins to tie the game at 3-3 in the 78th minute.

"Mitch is not necessarily the quickest player, but he will show up at times in the right place," Eastern Wayne head coach Jorg Wagner said. "Being a senior he has seen a lot of things. It was fortunate to have it go in through a bunch of guys like that."

Moments later, Henry Nelson was fouled inside the 18-yard box and Herlihy beat Wiggins with a hard, low shot on a penalty kick to put the Warriors in front for good.

"We were rather fortunate I thought," Wagner said. "Maybe some of it has to do with we have a halfway decent fitness level. We were able to press maybe a little bit longer at the end. I thought overall it was a typical early-season game.

"There were a lot of mistakes on both sides. It was an entertaining game."

Wiggins finished with nine saves and Eastern Wayne held a 15-6 advantage in shots on goal.