Senior forward Stephen Chapman scored the second-half equalizer to give Appalachian State University men’s soccer the draw with the fifth-ranked Charlotte, 1-1, on Tuesday evening at Transamerica Field.
“Great team effort tonight,” head coach Jason O’Keefe said. “The guys showed a toughness and grit that we will need to continue to play with now that it is November. Charlotte has a very good team and I can see why they are as high as No. 5 in the country in some polls. We were pushed tonight, we bent several times, but we didn’t break. To battle back after going down a goal and push it to overtime and have a great look by Chapman to win it, I am very proud of the entire team.”
O’Keefe continued, “We will recover and get back to work tomorrow as we have a big game this Saturday at Georgia Souther to close out the regular season. As good as a result tonight was, we don’t want that to be the highlight of our season.”
The Mountaineers (5-7-4) fought tooth and nail to contend with the 49ers (11-2-2), who found themselves ranked fifth in the country this week in the NSCAA poll.
Appalachian opened the first half with intensity and physicality to put Charlotte on the heels a bit, getting multiple chances early. Unfortunately, it would be the 49ers who struck first, scoring in the ninth minute to go up 1-0 when Daniel Bruce redirected a blast from Sean Bowman.
Charlotte had a few more chances in the first half, but the Black and Gold were able to thwart any effort, making it into the halftime only down the one goal.
The Mountaineers brought the same energy into the second half and found even more shots to start things off. After a series of opportunities in the box, Chapman blasted an unassisted goal from 25-yards out to tie the game in the 61st minute and force overtime – his eighth of the season.
Once into overtime, neither team conceded an edge with an upset on the line. Charlotte finally broke through and had a chance at the goal but right before the ball crossed the line, the Mountaineers cleared it from danger. Chapman again almost had the chance to get the ball into the back of the net late, but missed by inches to keep the game tied.
Leading the App State charge offensive was Chapman who had two shots, one on goal. Behind him was sophomore Raheem Somersall, sophomore Daniel Avila and junior Cooper Coughlin who each had a shot on goal, while seniors Jordan Melia and Ben Steen and sophomore Ian Bennett all recorded one shot.
Playing the entire 110 for the Mountaineers in the net was Jake Agnew. The freshman had two saves on the day while facing 22 shots, while App had one team defensive save.
The Mountaineers will look to close out the 2016 regular season on Saturday, Nov. 5 when they take on longtime conference rival Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.