Smalley’s first collegiate goal seals win


Junior mid-field Cooper Coughlin goes after the ball during the game against USC Upstate on Tuesday evening. The game resulted in a win for the Mountaineers with the final score being 3-1. Photo by Halle Keighton, Photo Editor

Tyler Hotz


When the App State men’s soccer team needed to step up tonight, they were well-equipped to respond to the challenge.

The Mountaineers (1-4) not only earned their first win of the season but also helped Jason O’Keefe pick up his first win as the Mountaineers head coach, winning 3-1 over USC Upstate.

It was the Mountaineers first home game of the season after enduring a brutal four-game stretch to start, which was the most road matches the team has had starting a season since 1992.

App started off the first half slow with the Spartans (2-2) controlling much of the possession in the first 10 minutes, but they were able to control the ball consistently for the rest of the half.

The Mountaineers created many scoring opportunities in the first half, including three corner kicks, but were unable to find the back of the net until senior forward Jordan Melia netted his second goal of the season to put the Mountaineers up 1-0 only six minutes into the second half.

“We planned on coming out fast, but they pressed really high and we struggled to adapt at first,” Meila said. “Coach drills into us to stress the first ten minutes and last ten minutes of each half. The last ten minutes of each half we stepped on board for what he said and stepped it up a gear.”

App was largely in control in the second half, but then the Spartans began to move more men forward, which resulted in Joel Bunting heading home a cross from Calon Minors in the 71st minute, tying the game at 1-1.

The Mountaineers, however, never panicked and were able to respond with a go-ahead goal only six minutes later when true freshman Graham Smalley buried a shot from deep inside the left side of the box into the bottom left corner. The goal proved to be the difference, and also was Smalley’s first collegiate goal.

“Obviously I couldn’t [have scored my first college goal] without these guys,” Smalley said. “The amount of stuff we have to go through as a team and as a family doesn’t compare and I shouldn’t be getting as much of the fame for it because they deserve it as much as I do. It is an exciting experience and a great goal to achieve and I hope I can get more.”

App went on to put the game away when senior forward Stephen Chapman drilled home a penalty kick to push the scoreline to 3-1 with only five minutes remaining.

Looking forward, the Mountaineers will look to get their first road win of the year when they travel to Longwood (2-2-1) on Saturday.

“You have to get points on the road, and some things we have been close to but have let slip,” O’Keefe said. “I’m excited to go on the road with this win and three goals and I would like to get a shutout. The energy, the enthusiasm and the work are all things you have to bring on the road.”  

Story By: Tyler Hotz, Intern Sports Reporter