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DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia men's soccer team used a game-winning blast from Max Angel in the first overtime period to sail by the 22nd-ranked University of Tampa Spartans, 2-1 in a non-conference tilt Wednesday night at the North Georgia Soccer Complex.
Three minutes into the overtime period, Angel found himself free from about 30 yards out after a header was cleared by the Spartans. Angel took a step, set up, and drilled the back of the net, burning the keeper to the top right. It was Angel's first goal of the season, with hopes of having plenty more.
The game did not start off the way the Saints would have hoped. Spartan forward Andrew Clare smoked the ball to the left side of the net, just outside the 18 yard box. Clare took North Georgia goalkeeper Rade Tanaskovic to the far side to give Tampa the early lead after just one minute into the game.
The Saints would have an answer though. Gustavo Cunha was given the opportunity to take a free kick from about 25 yards out in the 42nd minute. Cunha ceased the opportunity and hammered the ball into the back of the net, shooting over the opponent's wall and right past the Tampa keeper. The Saints would head into the half tied at one apiece.
The game would go scoreless throughout the second half, but not without opportunities for both teams. While Angel will get the glory, Tanaskovic deserves the praise. The senior goalkeeper made plenty of key saves throughout the second half, and plenty of them with less than 10 minutes to play. The Saints capitalized on the play of Tanaskovic, while the Spartans used a different goalkeeper in each half.
After allowing four goals on Sunday afternoon to the talented Barry Buccaneers, Tanaskovic answered quickly to get his team the win allowing only one goal and tallying five saves against the ranked visitors.
With the return of Chris Griffith to the lineup, the Saints were more poised on their side of the pitch. Juan Hurtado also played great in the midfield, providing North Georgia with plenty of scoring opportunities.
The win gives the Saints a one in every column now to go along with a loss and a draw. Bouncing back from a convincing defeat on Sunday to a ranked Barry squad and giving North Georgia and the Peach Belt a win against the Sunshine State Conference, should not go unnoticed.
North Georgia must now prepare for their first conference game of the season, heading to USC Aiken on Saturday night. The game is set to kickoff at 7:30 PM following the Lady Saints' matchup.