Hartsville, S.C. – Three second half goals, including the game winner by Marc Mergena with just 33 seconds remaining in the game, gave the Cobra men’s soccer team a 3-2 victory over Belmont Abbey in Conference Carolinas soccer Saturday afternoon. The win improves the regionally ranked #5 Cobras to 9-2-2 overall, and 3-2-1 in conference play, while the Abbey falls to 5-6-1 overall, and 3-5 in the conference.

Belmont Abbey was the first to strike with a goal from Jack Reid in the 33rd minute. The Crusaders held the 1-0 lead into the half, but in the 55th minute Alan Cuevas (Houston, Texas) fed Mike Crook (Bradenton, Fla.) a pass into the middle of the penalty box that Crook put in the back of the net tying the match at one.

The Cobras took their first lead of the match with a goal form Eric Stiefield (Eustis, Fla.) in the 64th minute and it looked as if that is where the match would end, however the Crusaders kept on attacking and in the 81st minute of play the Abbey got a break with a major Coker error. The Crusaders crossed a ball into the Coker penalty box, only to have a Cobra defender deflect it into their own goal and tie the match at two, with just over eight minutes remaining.

Things got heated over the final minutes of play, as both teams picked up the intensity, but it was Coker that was able to get the upper hand. Stiefield chipped the Abbey keeper with less than a minute left and Mergena (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) followed the shot and was able to tap it over the goal line with just 33 seconds remaining, giving the Cobras the eventual 3-2 win.

It was a hard fought match with more than 21 fouls and six cards issued throughout the match.

Coker will return to action on Tuesday, Oct. 13, when they host Pfeffer University at 7:00 p.m.

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