Spencer's Short-Handed Goals Give Musketeers Dramatic Victory
Oct. 30, 2010
CINCINNATI - Sophomore Luke Spencer kept the Musketeers postseason chances alive, scoring two short-handed goals in the closing minutes to give Xavier a 2-1 victory over Dayton in the final regular season home game Saturday evening.
The come from-behind victory lifts the Musketeers to 7-5-3 overall and 4-3-0 in the Atlantic 10 conference. The Flyers drop to 7-6-3 and 3-2-2 in the conference.
"We definitely were looking the season in the eye because it was the third consecutive game that we were down a goal," head coach Andy Fleming said. "The funny thing was that we played much more efficiently once we were down a guy and after that goal."
Spencer's game-tying and game-winning goal came with the Musketeers playing down a man, after El-Hadji Dieng was issued a red card in the 69th minute.
Spencer netted a diving header in the 74th minute that breathed life into the Musketeers after falling behind, 1-0. Junior Andrew Boisvert played a long pass from 15 yards outside of the box, which Spencer tucked inside of the near post.
Just 10 minutes later, Spencer scored one of the biggest goals for the Musketeers in recent history as he controlled a free ball and drove a low-line drive from 12 yards out.
"Luke Spencer is one of the top players in the conference," Fleming said." He has been injured all year and slumped last weekend and we challenged him to come out today and he took the team on his back."
The goals erased the Flyers 1-0 lead and kept the Musketeers hopes alive for their first postseason berth since 2006. The Flyers took the lead in the 63rd minute on Jack Pearson's header from the left side of the box.
Last week Fleming said his team hit the wall following home losses to St. Bonaventure and Duquesne. He said this victory helped them pushed past those defeats.
Spencer's second and third goals of the year came in his first start of the year and ensured the Musketeer first .500 or better season since 2002, when Xavier went 10-7-2.
Seniors Dieng, James Getzen, Brandon Bucher and Andy Dimbi , and Bryan Kanu were recognized during senior night prior to the start of the game. Juniors Ryan Engelmann, Boisvert, and Ryan Gray were also recognized.
The victory moved Xavier over Dayton in the conference standings and puts them in fifth, pending the outcome of the Sunday's conference games.
"We handled the lead well and it was a consummate team effort, I couldn't be prouder," Fleming said. "I don't think it gets scripted any better than to beat a rival on senior night to stay within the rankings in the conference."
Xavier goes back on the road for its final regular season games of the year. The Musketeers will face La Salle on Nov. 5 and Fordham on Nov. 7, both teams which are currently ahead of them in the standings.