Balog’s ‘Golden Goal’ Propels Spartans Past Emory 3-2 in Second Overtime

Balog’s ‘Golden Goal’ Propels Spartans Past Emory 3-2 in Second Overtime

Case Western Reserve University senior Michael Balog connected on a header off a corner kick by freshman Connor Weber just over three minutes into the second overtime period on Sunday afternoon to give the Spartans a 3-2 win over Emory University in a University Athletic Association contest at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

The win raised the Spartans' overall record to 6-9-2, including a 2-4-0 mark in UAA play.  Emory dropped to 11-5-1 with a 3-2-1 conference record.

Balog finished the game with a goal and an assist to lead the Spartans, with Weber assisting on a pair of goals, both off corner kicks.

The victory was Case Western Reserve's first overtime win since a 1-0 victory over Kenyon at home last season, and its first double-overtime victory since a 1-0 triumph over Carnegie Mellon in two overtime periods on November 7, 2015.  CWRU improved to 1-1-2 in overtime games in 2017.

The Spartans struck first in the game, scoring off a corner kick in the 18th minute to take a 1-0 advantage.  Weber took the corner from the far side of the field, sending a well-placed ball out in front of the net.  Junior Paul Darmstadter swooped into the box, heading the ball past the Emory keeper for his second goal of the season.  However, the Eagles would eventually even the score in the 35th minute on Tyler Santee's second goal of the campaign.

The score remained knotted at 1-1 into the early part of the second half, before sophomore Zachary Senft broke the tie in CWRU's favor in the 54th minute of play.  Balog created the scoring opportunity by sending a shot on frame that was deflected by the Emory keeper.  Senft was able to collect the deflection in front of the goal, and send it into the back of the net for his team-leading sixth goal of the season, while Balog was credited with first assist of the year on the go-ahead goal.

CWRU maintained its 2-1 lead until the 77th minute of play, when Emory's Moustafa Khattab evened the score with a shot from 30 yards out that found the upper-right corner of the goal, tying the score at 2-2.

In addition to his contribution on the offensive end, Senft also played a huge role defensively for the Spartans on Sunday.  With just over a minute remaining in the game, Emory' Cody Gardiner launched a shot on goal that Senft was able to head off the line, clearing the danger for CWRU. 

Senft's save helped send the game into overtime, where the score remained 2-2 through the first 10-minute extra period.  Early in the second overtime period, Balog drove down the field before launching a shot towards net that was deflected out past the end line by an Emory player, setting up a corner kick for Weber on the near side of the field.  The corner kick went to the far post, where Balog was able to head it in for the 'golden goal,' securing the conference win for CWRU.

It was the fifth goal overall this season for Balog, and his second game-winning goal of the campaign.  His three-point game on Sunday give him 11 on the year, as the senior reached a double-digit point total for the third time in his four seasons with the Spartans.  Weber's two assists in the game give him for on the year, second among all CWRU players this season.

Making his first start of the season, senior goalkeeper Christian Grimme playing the entirety of the game and converting seven saves.  He improved to 1-0-0 on the year with the victory.

The Spartans outshot the Eagles 22-20 in the game, as Balog finished the contest with a game-high eight shots, including three on goal, with Senft adding five shots, also with three on goal.

Case Western Reserve will wrap-up its 2017 campaign next weekend at home, when the Spartans host Carnegie Mellon University at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 4th at DiSanto Field.