FLUSHING, N.Y. – In a high-scoring thriller, the Queens College men's soccer team led a spirited comeback in the final 10 minutes, scoring two goals, but only to be short-lived. The Knights ran out of time to suffer a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to the Lions of Molloy College in their East Coast Conference (ECC) opener from the QC Soccer Field on Saturday afternoon in humid conditions.
With the loss, the Knights moved to 3-3 overall and 0-1 in ECC play, while the Lions improved to 2-4 overall, 1-0 ECC.
The Knights looked to attack early, as a shot by sophomore Emgi Gousse was blocked in the fifth minute. Just a minute later, a header by Dorie James was saved by Lions goalie Raul Bonilla. On the other side, the Lions got on board in the 14th minute after a failed clearance landed the ball towards Adam Carnwath, who put it away to the bottom left corner for a 1-0 lead. Queens controlled the pace of the first half but continued to come up empty.
In the 40th minute, the Knights finally found the back of the net, as junior Paul Hayes gathered a volley from classmate David Ramirez to successfully bang home a goal through the middle for his first goal of the season to the knot the game, 1-1. However, with 30 seconds to go into the half, Sean Moore took advantage of a sloppy defense by the Knights, finding Dan Massey, who buried a shot through the right for a 2-1 lead for the Lions at the half.
This was not the first time the Knights found themselves trailing at the half, as they hoped to use their previous comeback wins for another second half story once again. In the 56th minute, a foul in the box by the Lions awarded a penalty kick to the Knights. Junior András Breuer successfully beat a diving Bonilla to knot the game at 2-2. But in a span of eight minutes, the Lions took control of the match by scoring three goals to squeeze the momentum out of the Knights.
Trailing 5-2, Queens continued to fight back as the clock entered the last 10 minutes of regulation. After a foul on the 20-yard line of the Knights, Gousse successfully buried a free kick in the 80th minute to the upper left corner to bring the deficit down to 5-3. With the goal, Gousse increased his tally to seven goals on the year. In the 89th minute, Queens looked to have found the momentum it needed, as junior Najib Ullah found the back of the net, putting away a rebound shot through the right side to bring the Knights with one. But fate was not on the Knights side this time around, as they fell, 5-4, in a spirited comeback.
On the day, the Knights held the advantage in shots (29-14) and corner kicks (6-3), while the Lions committed more fouls (16-10). Junior Robert Retnauer split time in goal with classmate Chidiebere Iloka (0-1). Retnauer, playing the first half, saved two shots on four shots on goal, while Iloka, making his Queens debut, faced six shots on goal and saved three. Bonilla faced 12 shots on goals, denying the Knights on eight occasions.
UP NEXT: Looking to rebound, Frank Vertullo and his team gear up to host the Purple Knights of University of Bridgeport in ECC action on Saturday, Sept. 23, with kickoff slated for 3 p.m.