Merkey Cashes in Two Goals, Leads Saxons to OT Victory

ALFRED, NY – The Alfred University men's Soccer team took on the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford on Wednesday night at Yunevich Stadium. The Saxons (2-3, 0-0 Empire 8) won their second in a row with a thrilling overtime win over the panthers.


Evan Merkey (Webster, NY / Webster Schroeder) was the hero for AU as he used his head for two huge goals around the net, including the overtime winner with just 1:29 to play in the extra period.


The Saxons started out hot with a goal from Justin Eaton (Williamson, NY / Williamson) just six minutes into the contest.


After a penalty kick got Pitt.-Bradford on the board at the 21st minute, Merkey worked his magic around the net when he was set up by a beautiful assist from Zachary Gloskin (New City, NY / Clarkstown South). That made the score 2-1 in favor of Alfred.


The Panthers began to turn things up during the middle minutes of the first half. Brent Kennedy buried two goals for the panthers within two minutes around the midway point of the first half.


The teams buckled down the defense for the remainder of the opening period and the score held at 3-2 going into the halftime break.


Just under 10 minutes into the second period, a foul set Gloskin up for a free kick just outside of the penalty box. Gloskin struck a perfect ball that curved around a wall of Panther defenders and into the net for a Saxon goal. That strike tied the game up at three all.


The scoring stalled for both teams for the remaining 35 minutes and forced the teams into overtime.


A hard fought overtime period went back and forth for more than eight minutes with both teams coming up just short of cashing in.


With just over 1:30 on the clock, Gavin Harrington (Elmira, NY / Notre Dame) lined up for a free kick and struck a perfect pass toward the goal where Merkey went head first and nailed a perfect header into the back of the net for the Saxon win.


Merkey led the AU offense with two goals. Gloskin came up big with a goal and an assist. Eaton finished with one goal while Matthew Wedzik (North East, PA / North East) had one assist. Ben Middlemiss (Montclair, NJ / Montclair) got the win in net and ended with four saves for the Saxons.


"Tonight was a hard fought win against Pitt.-Bradford," Head Coach Tracy Blake said. "We seem to like adversity. We go behind by making silly mistakes and I like the fact that the boys do come back in the game and work hard getting into it, we just have to get them focused. They are not mentally focused on the game for some reason. It's a problem that we have right now. We have two more games before the Empire 8 starts and I really think we can get there.  Again, I can't fault the effort. Sometimes the effort is just put in wrong situations."


The Saxons will be back on the turf as they travel to D'Youville College on Sunday for a matchup with the Spartans at 2PM.