Zippin’ Through the Night
Godec and Mulligan's late game heroics push St. John's past No. 5/9 Akron
St. John’s upset No. 5/9 Akron 2-1 on Friday night. Trailing the Zips (2-1-0) 1-0 late in the second half, the Red Storm (2-1-0) tied the game up with less than twenty minutes remaining and won on red-shirt senior Jimmy Mulligan’s penalty kick five minutes into the second overtime.
The first half of play was a battle of wills for both defenses, as each team held each other scoreless in the forty-five minute span.
The Red Storm’s defense could not contain the Akron offense halfway through the second half, senior Eric Stevenson was able to drive the ball out of Diaz’s reach and into the lower left-hand post.
Spurred on by the boisterous fans at home, the Johnnies upped their tempo. Godec was able to capitalize on a cross by sophomore Jelani Williams and sent it into the back of the net to tie the game.
“We prepare really well for every game and I knew I just had to get across that man,” Godec said. “I saw that ball come in and I was lucky it went in.”
Spurred on by an even more energetic home crowd, the Red Storm offense came alive as the tides would turn in their favor. Akron suddenly found themselves desperate for a breath of air in-between attacks by the strikers.
With each team unable to get a goal as regulation expired, the Zips’ offense found their second wind in the first ten minutes of overtime. All their attempts to end the game were shunned by Diaz who challenged each forward and forced them to take a shout out wide.
Five minutes into the second half of overtime, junior Tim Parker was pushed from behind while leading a strike in the Akron box and had a foul called in his favor. Mulligan was designated as the player to take the penalty kick in Parker’s place. Spurred on by the vuvuzela-wielding fans fervently cheering him on as he stepped up to take the kick, Mulligan drilled the ball into the back of the net to clinch the upset.
“The fans are awesome,” Mulligan said, “They give us a lot of lift this whole game and were cheering the whole time. To have them is great.”
After the game-winner, Mulligan and the rest of the squad walked around the stadium cheering on the celebratory fans.
“We were thrilled to see our student body,” coach Masur said, “It makes the university tick and creates a collegiate environment, and our team loves St. John’s.”
St. John’s will next on September 9 when they host Penn State at 8 p.m.