Banner Elk, N.C. – It may have taken longer than expected but Lynn University's second-ranked men's soccer team was able to knock off Lees-McRae 1-0 in overtime in its season opener on Friday. Jack Winter provided the game-winning header in his first career match. The Fighting Knights improve to an impressive 24-2-1 overall in season openers.
Returning the entire back line of James Aldred, Michael Kutscher, AB Magnusson and Jason Sangha, along with keeper Matt DiCerbo, Lynn showed why its defense could be the best in the nation. The Bobcats were held to a mere three shots total, including just one on target.
The two teams battled throughout regulation, remaining deadlocked at 0-0 through the first 90 minutes despite solid scoring chances on both sides. Julian Halder had perhaps the best scoring opportunity in regulation for Lynn, firing a rocket of a shot toward the top shelf and forcing Bobcats keeper Thomas Rusling to leave his feet and punch the ball over the bar in the 51st minute.
Winter and Roberto Cadilhe forced Rusling into several saves over the next 20 minutes while the Bobcats' best scoring chance came from James Smith in the 81st minute when he sent a free kick toward the top corner, forcing DiCerbo into a desperation save to keep the score knotted at 0-0.
The Fighting Knights dictated proceedings for much of the extra time period, outshooting the Bobcats by a 4-0 margin. Lynn found the breakthrough with 43 seconds left on the clock, when a free kick from Halder deflected off the wall at the top of the 18-yard box and fell to Winter in the six-yard box, putting Winter in perfect position to nod the finish over the keeper's outstretched arm and into the corner for the winner.
Lynn returns to the pitch on Monday, September 3, at 2 p.m. when it takes on King College. Fans can follow the action through live stats or video at LynnFightingKnights.com.