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Men’s soccer downs Richard Stockton in OT thriller in front of home crowd

Overtime has not been kind to the Eastern Eagles men’s soccer team. In losses to Gettysburg, Misericordia and a draw at Gwynedd-Mercy, the Eagles failed to clinch victory in overtime play.

When the Oct. 3 game against Richard Stockton College of New Jersey was forced into extra time, things looked a little precarious for the Eagles. However Eastern was determined to not let this one slip away. Just over two minutes in, sophomore Brian Raffle beautifully set up junior Scott Patrick for a header to put the game away.

Battling against a previously nationally ranked team, the Eagles faced fierce competition from Richard Stockton. However, Eastern’s intensity and desire to win dominated play early.

In the fifth minute, Raffle scored off of senior Lance Burris’ beautiful ball to the left side.

“He played me a good ball, all I had to do was was finish,” Raffle said.

However, the Eagles couldn’t find a security goal, and the Ospreys made them pay. With a little over 25 minutes left, the opposition knotted it up. With time running out, the scene was set for Eastern’s dramatic finish.

“[It] felt great to finally get an OT win,” Raffle said. “Not winning the OT games has been really hard.”

“Clearly from a possession, passion and fitness standpoint, we were pleased,” Associate Head Coach Jim Henderson said.

Shutting down the Ospreys leading scorer Rafael Duerte, the Eagles all-around performance bodes well for future games. Injured midfielder Alex Clark, a starting sophomore, said that from the bench he could tell that the team excelled when they possessed the ball and struggled when they lost defensive shape.

“When we’re moving the ball well, we can play with anyone in the country,” Clark said.

Coach Henderson said that he feels like the team has as good of a chance as any team to win the conference championship, but they do not want to get ahead of themselves.

Polled by coaches before the beginning of the season as the favorite to win the PAC, the team has high expectations this year. “This is the year we’ve been waiting for,” Clark said.

While the season has definitely seen its rough spots, the vibe from both players and coaches is one of optimism.

As long as the Eagles keep up their level of play, and get the support needed, hopes will remain high.

“We just want to say that the fans truly make a difference at our home games and we hope that we will represent our student body well every game,” Henderson said.

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