Dommer's golden goal sends Pearl River to Gulf South District Semifinals
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Christopher Dommer (Copenhagen, Denmark.; Øregård Gymnasium) has come up clutch time and time again for the Pearl River men's soccer team over the last two seasons, and he did it again Saturday night, delivering an overtime game-winner to upend Southwest 2-1.
The victory sends Pearl River to Friday's Gulf South District Semifinals hosted at Jones College. Pearl River will square off against the second-seeded Bobcats with a time to be determined.
"It was a tale of two halves. In the first half, I didn't think we looked good at all," head coach Drew Gallant said. "We made a little tactical change at halftime, and it really paid off. It was a much better second half out of all the guys. We didn't make many mistakes in the second half. Everyone was sound and everyone did their jobs."
"Even though we were down a goal, they came out and were composed," Gallant added on his team's grittiness. "It was like they weren't even down. It was their game to win from the start of the second half. I was really pleased with their effort and how much they wanted this game."
Pearl River (9-4-3 overall) earned a free kick just two minutes into the match and nearly capitalized. Centerback Mikkel Fredsgaard (Allerød, Denmark.; Lyngby Handelsgymnasium) stepped up to take the kick and fired a laser on target, but the Southwest (7-6-4) keeper made the save.
Five minutes later, the Bears scored an incredible goal that soared from deep down the pitch and into the top of the net to take an early lead, 1-0.
Christopher Dommer (Copenhagen, Denmark.; Øregård Gymnasium) provided another Wildcat scoring opportunity in the 12th minute as he fired a shot from just outside the box toward the goal that was saved by the SMCC keeper once again.
Southwest peppered the Wildcats with scoring chances in the 20th and 21st minute, but Noah Nymark (Farsoe, Denmark.; Handelsgymnasiet Turoegade) was clutch between the posts, saving two shot attempts to keep the deficit at 1-0.
Pearl River had chances to even the score in both the 27th and 28th minutes. Tiago Honorio Jr. (São Paulo; Zacarias Antônio da Silva) successfully dribbled his way into the box and got the ball back to Dommer. He found an inch of space and fired a shot, but the goalkeeper made a nice save. On the ensuing corner kick, a ball made its way back to Fredsgaard, and the defender slashed the ball toward the goal. Southwest's goalkeeper reacted quickly, though, flailing his right leg out to kick the ball away and end the threat.
Pearl River celebrates its overtime victory over Southwest (River Roderick)
Pearl River eventually pulled level in the 50th minute, thanks to stellar linkup play between Honorio Jr. and Dommer. Dommer slid a pass to the middle of the box where Honorio Jr. was standing and began making a run forward. Honorio Jr. made one quick dribble to his left and chipped a ball inside to Dommer. Dommer grabbed possession and had a defender right in front of him. He spun with the ball to create some space and sent a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net, 1-1.
"There were a lot of defenders in the area. They were holding players back since they were in front," Dommer said. "I knew I could link up with Tiago because he's a good striker. I passed him the ball and knew he could hold it up. He passed me a fantastic ball and I went for the low corner, and it went in."
In the 75th, PRCC had another opportunity to get on the board as Kristoff Graham (Clarendon, Jamaica.; Clarendon College) dribbled the length of the pitch and fired a shot from outside the box that sailed just left of the net and out of play.
Pearl River continued to develop chance after chance as the second half continued on but couldn't find the game-winner. The Wildcats headed into overtime locked at 1-1.
The overtime period didn't last long, as Dommer scored the golden goal only three minutes in. A throw-in found the head of Honorio Jr. and went outside the box to Dommer. The midfielder dribbled to his left and fired a bent shot toward goal that clanged off the Southwest goalkeeper's hands and bounced into the back of the net for a game-winner, 2-1.
"It was a tough game for the whole team," Dommer said. "I'm really proud that we played hard until the very last minute. I just wanted to take the shot to see what happened. I got a little lucky with it going in, but I am glad that we got the win."
GULF SOUTH SEMIFINALS
More information will be made available later about the Gulf South District Semifinals later on PRCCAthletics.com.