VIRGINIA BEACH -- Persistence paid off for Joe Papetti.
What had been a frustrating Saturday for the junior from Edgewater, Maryland (South River) was all wiped away when he scored the game-winning goal for Virginia Wesleyan College in a double overtime thriller against Guilford College on Foster Field at the Trinder Center.
VWC posted a 12-11 win with 2:14 remaining in the second overtime after Papetti fired the ball low past the goalie off a feed from sophomore Josh Currier (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Name-Hill Academy). Within seconds, Papetti found himself in a swarm of teammate as the Marlins' bench stormed the field to celebrate the hard-fought victory.
Papetti found himself open throughout the game to fire shots at the goal, but they went high or wide. But, it was his 13th shot that was anything but unlucky as it found its way into the net to end the game.
It was a game of standout efforts by both teams, particularly the goalies for both teams who stopped a number of rocket shots from every direction in a contest that produced 104 shots overall. Junior Rory Finnegan (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) finished with 14 saves against 56 shots, and Guilford keeper Thomas Deane (St. Louis, Mo./Ladue) recorded 16 saves against 48 shots.
But, when the offenses did capitalize on open looks at the nets, they produced some impressive goals, highlighted by a behind-the-back goal by Currier that ignited the fire in Virginia Wesleyan (8-3, 3-2 ODAC) for the remainder of the game. He scored with 10:15 remaining in the third quarter, pulling the Marlins within a goal of Guilford's lead.
Less than a minute later, he scored again to tie the game at 7-all, firing the ball into the net off a pass from junior Mike Moran (Woolwich, N.J./Kingsway Regional). Guilford (6-6, 1-6 ODAC), which dropped one-goal games to Roanoke and Hampden-Sydney, came back to take the lead however, moving in front 8-7 on a shot by Chase Rogers (Woodlands, Texas/The Woodland) with 4:06 on the clock.
The teams traded goals in the first seven minutes of an intensely-played fourth quarter, with Guilford still leading 10-9 after a shot by Daniel Haupt with 8:17 remaining to be played. Seventeen seconds later senior Nick Pappas (Edgewater, Md./South River) made it a 10-all game with a well-placed shot.
It was Pappas who also gave the Marlins the upper hand in the game when he scored off a feed from Papetti to give Virginia Wesleyan an 11-10 lead with 5:39 remaining in regulation play. It was VWC's first lead since the opening minutes of the game and he scored off an assist from Currier.
Guilford had the ball for the final minutes and seemed to be running out of time as the Quakers could not find an opening in the VWC defense. But, as the clock started to tick off the final 10 seconds, Daniel Hughey (Cary, N.C./Athens Drive) scored from the left with only eight seconds remaining, pushing the game into overtime.
Ball possession was key in the overtime sessions, and after an evenly played first OT, Virginia Wesleyan worked the ball in the second OT until Currier found Papetti at the corner of the goal for the decisive shot.
Currier scored two goals for the Marlins overall, but led the game with five assists, tying his second highest total of the season. Moran led the Marlins with four goals, Pappas added three, and Tim Gunn (Sparks, Md./Hereford) and Andre Brummitt (Baltimore, Md./Glen Burnie North County) had one each.
Chase Clausen (Canby, Ore./Lake Oswego) and Chandler Zirkle (Chapel Hill, N.C./East Chapel Hill) led Guilford with two goals each. Duncan Fitzgerald (North Sutton, N.H./Kearsarge Regional) added two assists.
Virginia Wesleyan competes again on Wednesday, April 16, at Randolph College at 7 p.m.