September 7, 2011
Stamatis strikes again for Columbia men
NEW YORK -- On a wet and rainy evening at Columbia Soccer Stadium, it was Will Stamatis who came through in the clutch again. The junior forward scored his second straight game-winning goal in overtime and helped the Columbia men's soccer team to its third consecutive victory of the season, 2-1, over Saint Peter's on Tuesday.
Stamatis, who also scored the equalizer in the 67th minute, tallied nine shots over the course of the contest -- matching the total of the entire Peacocks team. Overall, the Lions had 18 shots but had to come charging back in the second half and overtime to improve to 3-0 on the year.
Despite Columbia holding a 9-3 edge in the shot category in the opening half, it was St. Peter's who found the back of the net first. But not before the Lions nearly broke the scoreless tie in the 31st minute.
Senior Jesse Vella moved up from his left back position and found himself open near the edge of the 18-yard box. Vella drilled a shot that looked destined for the top of the goal but the ball clanged off the crossbar and was cleared by the Peacocks.
Less than seven minutes later, St. Peter's took full advantage of its first real opportunity as Harry Newman slid a shot past Alexander Aurrichio from about 15 yards out to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Right before the end of the first half, Stamatis nearly pulled the Lions even but his header in the 44th minute went just wide.
Columbia and St. Peter's played relatively even over the first 20 minutes of the second half before the home team came through to tie it up. Sophomore Henning Sauerbier, who had checked into the match seconds earlier, played a beautiful cross into the box to Stamatis. The Mountainside, N.J. native headed home his second goal of the season to put the score at 1-1.
The Peacocks had a prime opportunity to retake the lead in the 73rd minute, as Betim Bajrami found himself all alone with the ball from about 10 yards out. But Aurrichio was positioned perfectly and made the easy stop to keep the contest knotted.
From there, the two teams played stout defense and nullified any attack the opposition had as the match moved to overtime.
In extra time, the Peacocks had the first two shots but Noah Sadoui and Kevin Olson both missed wide on their chances.
With less than two minutes remaining in the first 10-minute overtime period, St. Peter's goalkeeper Johan Romero booted a free kick to midfield. Senior captain Mike Mazzullo tracked it down perfectly and headed the ball back the other way.
Stamatis timed his run perfectly after the header, tracked the ball down at the edge of the box on the left side, and booted a blast over Romero for his second goal of the match and his second consecutive game-winner.
Bajrami finished with a team-best five shots for the Peacocks, who fell to 0-3 on the season with the loss.
Columbia hits the road for the TLC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Lobo Invitational, and will take on host New Mexico on Friday, Sept. 9.