Heartbreaker! Lee University coach Paul Furey nailed it when he described the Flames 2-1 double-overtime loss to visiting Christian Brothers University on Friday evening.
In the end, the hard-fought 108-minute contest was decided in a span of less than 117 seconds. The Flames missed a golden opportunity to win in the final minute of regulation play when not one, not two, but three attempts were fired from point-blank range at the visitor's goal and none reached the back of the net.
With the clock ticking away the final minute in the second overtime, CBU's Josh Ferraz struck a shot past Lee keeper Tom Halsall to give the Bucs the stunning 2-1 victory. In fact, both teams and the Lee fans appeared to be in shock for several minutes. Lee faithful seemed content to just stand around the field, maybe in hopes their eyes were deceiving them.
"That was a tough one," said Furey. "We played well, good enough to win. Certainly we should have gotten a tie, but it is a tough lesson learned. Overall, I thought it was a pretty high level, high intensity game."
The Flames (1-2-1) will long remember their home opener against Gulf South Conference competition. After a scoreless first half, freshman Arturo Rocha put the Flames on top with a 35-yard free kick at the 53:41 mark.
The Lee defense held until the 77th minute when Ferraz scored the first of his two goals and his fourth and fifth of the young season to push the battle toward overtime.
"Both goalkeepers played well," pointed out Furey. "Tom (Halsall) had some big saves (two near the end of the first half). We had our chances to win but were a bit unlucky on some shots and their keeper did the job."
Halsall finished with six saves and CBU keeper Britton McGuire had eight key saves for the winner. The Flames out-shot the Memphis club 20-16. Both teams placed 10 shots on target. Lee was awarded 12 penalty kicks and Christian Brothers eight. The visitors were whistled for 16 fouls in the rugged affair and the Flames for 14.
The victory sends CBU on to Shorter University on Sunday with a 2-3 record. The Flames will get some needed rest and return to the Lee Soccer Field on Sunday at 3 p.m. and face Delta State (Miss.). Shorter University defeated the Statesmen 4-3 in Rome, Ga. on Friday.
Said Furey, "We will be ready on Sunday for another challenging GSC match."