MONTGOMERY, Ala. ------ Sophomore Elvar Sigurdsson netted the game-winning goal in the 63rd minute, as the No. 6 Auburn University at Montgomery men's soccer team defeated No. 10 Southern Poly, 2-1, in the NAIA Men's Soccer Game of the Week Saturday.
The Warhawks improved to 11-2-1 on the season and 6-1 in Southern States Athletic Conference play. The Hornets fell to 9-3 overall and 5-2 in league matches.
"I am pleased with the results, but I am not happy with the way we played," head coach Wulf Koch said. "We continue to make the same mistakes and they are going to catch us with us at some point. In all reality, we could have been down 3-0 after 18 minutes. We have also been on the other end of that scenario, where you feel like you dominate, but can't finish your opportunities. Today, we were fortunate enough to be on the winning side."
Southern Poly put the pressure on AUM early in the match, having four opportunities in the opening 18 minutes of the match. Omar Kanteh was able to give the visitors the lead at the 9:11 mark, when the 6-3 forward headed in a corner kick by Juan Henao to put the Hornets on the board.
Despite the early advantage, SPSU had early opportunities to put the game out of reach, as Kanteh and Henao both missed scoring opportunities over the goal, while Warhawk' goalkeeper Vignir Johannesson saved a fourth scoring attempt in the span.
"Southern Poly is a very talented and well-coached team," Koch added. "They are a team that I would not want to play down the road. They are very dangerous. They are good in goal, good in the back, very good in the midfield and they have some guys up top that can really cause problems for anyone."
AUM battled back and tied the score at the 30:59 mark of the opening half, when junior Vitor Silva slammed home his third goal of the season off a deflected save by SPSU goalie Dennis Kramer. During the sequence Kramer faced a fury of shots by the Warhawks, as Silva's initial attack was blocked and Sigurdsson followed with a shot on goal which he deflected before the ball was eventually put away, all during a six-second span.
"Vitor is quietly having a very nice season for us," Koch continued. "He has played at numerous positions for us this season, so his versatility is invaluable."
At halftime, the match was knotted at 1-1, with the Warhawks holding an 8-6 advantage in shots. AUM also held a 4-3 lead in corner kicks.
To open the second half, each team had a scoring chance, before Sigurdsson gave the Warhawks the lead for good with 27:49 remaining in the contest. On the scoring play, freshman Sebastian Wladyko headed the ball toward the goal and Sigurdsson finished the one-timer past Kramer.
"Elvar really worked hard today," Koch concluded. "He also played well at Lee and has been putting himself in situations where he can score. For him to get the game winner today will only help his confidence."
AUM's Johannesson went on to stop the only other shot he faced to preserve the victory. In the match, Johannesson finished with three saves to earn his 10th victory of the season.
"Vignir has been having a great year," Koch said. "He has been rock-solid in the back and you can tell that in a tight game, his teammates play with confidence knowing that he is in goal behind them."
For the match, each team attempted 12 shots, with Silva and Kanteh both recorded a match-high four. Kramer finished with two saves.
AUM will return to action on Wednesday, October 17, when it travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., to take on conference foe William Carey at 7 p.m.