LAURINBURG, N.C.—Senior Tamas Szalai (Monroe, N.Y.) and junior Marbin Escobar (Middleburg, Fla.) each scored as host St. Andrews Presbyterian College rallied to a 2-1 Conference Carolinas victory over Coker College on Saturday’s ‘Senior Day’.
The victory -- coupled with a Belmont Abbey College 1-0 victory over Erskine College this afternoon -- has earned St. Andrews the No. 8 seed in the 2009 Conference Carolinas Tournament. SAPC will visit top-ranked and No. 1 nationally ranked Lees-McRae College (Banner Elk, N.C.) in the quarterfinals on Tuesday (2 or 7 p.m.).
St. Andrews finishes the regular season with a 5-11-0 overall record and a 3-7-0 mark in the league. After missing the conference tourney last season, the Knights return to postseason play for the fourth time in the last five years.
Coker (10-5-2 Overall; 4-5-1 Conf.) enters the 2009 Conference Carolinas Tournament as the No. 5 seed and will visit No. 4 seed and No. 13 nationally ranked Anderson University (Anderson, S.C.) on Tuesday (2 or 7 p.m.).
The Knights players and coaches honored its four seniors including Szalai, Eric Gomez (Estero, Fla.), Andrew Johnson (Sterling, Va.), and Jarrod Hall (Highland Village, Texas) with a plaque during an on-field presentation before the game started.
Coker scored the first goal of the game in the 18th minute on a quick series of passes. Senior Jason McCann (Callaway, Md.) made a pass from the middle of the field over to freshman Tyler Senecal (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.), who was located near the left post. Senecal quickly centered the ball across the front of the goal where junior Daniel Shrizad (Orlando, Fla.) headed in the Cobras only goal.
Shrizad leads Coker with seven goals on the season.
St. Andrews tied up the match just before halftime on a penalty kick that leveled the score, 1-1, through the midway intermission. Junior Chris Weedon (San Angelo, Texas) was fouled and taken down inside Coker’s box. Szalai confidently took the ensuing penalty kick by drilling the ball into back of the net for the equalizer.
Escobar scored the game-winning goal in the 53rd minute. Freshman Daniel Montero (Raleigh, N.C.) took the second of two consecutive Knights corner kicks that a Cobra defender attempted to clear but went directly out to Escobar in the middle of the box. Escobar drilled a low shot that found its way through traffic to provide St. Andrews with a 2-1 lead.
Escobar leads the Knights with six goals and 12 points while Szalai ranks second on the team with four goals and 10 points.
St. Andrews survived several close scoring chances for the final 38 minutes to hold on for the win. Coker had a commanding 16-7 shot advantage but junior goalie William Williams (Denver, Colo.) preserved the Knights victory with four of his game-high six saves coming in the second half.