Aug. 26, 2012
Box Score | Box Score
RALEIGH, N.C. - NC State men's soccer remained undefeated with a 2-1 overtime victory over Mercer Sunday at Dail Soccer Field, but the positive outcome was dearly bought with some last minute heroics from Monbo Bokar and Nazmi Albadawi.
"When we fell behind 1-0, we told the guys that we were going to have to press and work to get back into the game," said NC State head coach Kelly Findley. "We started running some different players in to stay fresh, and the team responded well to overcome a tough situation against a solid Mercer team today."
The Wolfpack (2-0-0) played Mercer (0-2-0) to a scoreless tie at halftime after several close calls in the opening frame. In the 16th minute, Mercer moved the ball to just in front of the goal. Matt Ingram came up with an outstanding block to preserve the tie. State had a chance denied in the 42nd minute when Conor Agnew nearly set up Philip Carmon on the left side of the goal.
The Pack pressed the issue early in the second half with some open chances. After thwarting those attacks, the Bears broke through in the 60th. Richie Edmondson slipped a goal in the right side thanks to an assist across the net from Ryan King.
State responded by scrambling desperately to even the score. In the 86th minute, those efforts were finally rewarded on Bokar's equalizer. Alex Martinez and Albadawi provided the assists as Martinez brought the ball in range on the right side, then sent a pass toward the left which Albadawi rerouted to Bokar for the final touch.
The waning moments of regulation ticked away without incident, but State didn't waste any time finishing the deal early in extra time. Albadawi eluded two defenders on a long run before rifling a shot along the ground on the right side to beat the keeper, granting the Wolfpack a 2-1 win.
"That might have been a game that we would have lost a year ago," said Albadawi. "It shows how far this team's come that we're able to battle back that way, and stay focused to come out with a win."
The Pack opens 2-0-0 for the first time since 2009, and only the third time since 2005. In the two years of the Findley era, State holds a 3-0-1 record on opening weekend.
State returns to the pitch on August 31 for the first of two games at the Duke Classic in Durham. The Wolfpack plays Delaware on Friday at 5 p.m. before wrapping up the weekend with a matchup against Santa Clara at Noon on Sunday, September 2. Live stats will be provided by GoPack.com and fans can follow Twitter updates from @PackMensSoccer.