McKenzie's late goal lifts Virginia Wesleyan over York
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- John McKenzie had the odds stacked against him as he took the ball in the 78th minute of Friday's season opening men's soccer game for Virginia Wesleyan College.
The senior from Virginia Beach (Landstown) took a cross from the left as two York College defenders closed in on him. But, McKenzie knocked the ball past them and finished it off with a hard kick that lined the ball into the right side of the net for a Marlin score.
It turned out to be the game-winner for VWC, which not only claimed its first opening-night win in Christopher Newport University's Joe Pombriant/CNU Classic, but also snapped a five-game losing skid to the perennial power from Pennsylvania. York's Spartans are the two-time defending champions of the Capital Athletic Conference and have advanced to the NCAA for the past six years.
Virginia Wesleyan did what it had to do to come up with the win however, despite being outshot 13-8 overall. York held a 7-3 advantage in shots in the second half, but could not find the back of the net at Captains' Field.
York applied the pressure through a nine-minute period in the second half and came up with three shots that did not get in. A shot by Chris Weaver (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) was stopped by VWC goalie Jay Coble (Portsmouth, Va./Churchland) in the 50th mintue, a header by Taylor Brummitt (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) sailed high in the 53rd minute, and alert defensive play by the Marlins resulted in a block of a scoring attempt by Cody Pearson (Crofton, Md./DeMatha Catholic) in the 57th minute.
Virginia Wesleyan came back with a threat minutes later, but a shot by Josh Richardson (Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan) was stopped byYork goalie Ethan Kavanaugh (Woodstown, N.J./Woodstown). The Spartans produced two more shots at the goal in the following minutes, before McKenzie game through with the game-winner for VWC.
York finished with a 10-1 advantage in corner kicks, several that producing scoring attempts, but Coble responded and produced a game-high four saves. Kavanaugh finished with three for York.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to Classic competition on Saturday, Sept. 3, facing Catholic University at 5 p.m. The Marlins own a 3-0 series record against the Cardinals.