Kearns' golden goal sends men's soccer to ODAC final

Bhayle Kearns celebrates the game-winning goal with his teammates.

Lynchburg, Va. -- Bhayle Kearns (Broad Run, Va.) couldn't have picked a better time for his first collegiate goal.

In Saturday's second overtime period, the freshman defender for the Lynchburg College men's soccer team took a pass from senior Nate Berning (Chesapeake, Va.) and dribbled the ball down an open alley toward center field and the Randolph-Macon box.

"Once he played that ball, everything opened up," Kearns said. "I just heard everybody yell, 'Hit it!' and so I hit it."

The ball streaked past the Yellow Jackets defense and into the net, sending the Hornets bench into a frenzy, and with good reason.

A golden goal.

Lynchburg is in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference final.

Kearns scored the game-winner in the 16th minute of overtime, vaulting Lynchburg into the ODAC's championship match with a 3-2 semifinal win over Randolph-Macon. The Hornets will play host to a rematch of last year's ODAC final -- Lynchburg and Washington and Lee -- Sunday on Shellenberger Field at 2 p.m.

 

THE RUNDOWN

Final: No. 1 Lynchburg 3, No. 4 Randolph-Macon 2 (OT)

Records: Lynchburg 16-1-2, Randolph-Macon 14-3-1

Venue: Shellenberger Field, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Va.

 

HOW IT HAPPENED

- Randolph-Macon took an early lead when Jacob McHugh finished Andrew Griggs' corner in the 28th minute.

- Abibi Osman (Charlottesville, Va.) tied the game for LC just before the halftime horn, one-touching a Nick Morgan (Mechanicsville, Va.) cross past the Yellow Jacket defense, and the match went to intermission tied, 1-1.

- Paul Duffy put the Yellow Jackets back in the lead in the 71st minute on an assist from Bryan Lutz, and the Hornets' season looked to be in jeopardy. But following a Hornets corner kick, Sherman Mitchell (Southbury, Conn.) headed the ball from the near post into the box, and Dan Friedberg (Blacksburg, Va.) was there to finish it.

- Neither team made use of opportunities in the first 10 minutes of overtime; Lynchburg couldn't capitalize on two corner kicks. But midway through the second OT period, Randolph-Macon committed a foul near midfield that set up the winning sequence. The Hornets played the ball wide right to senior Fredy Flores (Alexandria, Va.), who found Berning along the far sideline. Berning played the ball through for Kearns to make the deciding run, and the freshman finished what will be a memorable first collegiate goal.

 

LOOKING AHEAD

The Hornets move into a rematch of last year's ODAC final, pairing up with second-seeded Washington and Lee Sunday on Shellenberger Field at 2 p.m. Lynchburg won a Sept. 27 regular-season match over the Generals and also beat W&L in the 2016 ODAC final by a score of 2-1.

--LC--