FULLERTON, CA – Hope International opened up its 2017 GSAC slate with a test at home against Arizona Christian on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 10:30 am. The two sides had a number of dangerous chances in front of the net, but the match would require overtime to decide the final result.
The Royals had two dangerous shots in the opening minute of the match but the visiting Firestorm were able to avoid the danger after one went wide and another was saved by the ACU keeper. HIU was briefly caught off guard on a counter afterwards, but senior keeper Jacqueline Talley made the save to keep the net clean.
The two sides would trade attacks and counterattacks though the opening third of the match before the Royals grabbed control of the possession game and kept up a continued onslaught on ACU's half. The Firestorm would head to the bench trailing the Royals 8-4 in the shot count but tied 0-0 on the scoreboard.
Each side made adjustments during the break and came out looking to be more aggressive, but the Royals kept up the pace that they carried from the end of the first half over into the start of the second. The ball rarely left ACU's defensive half in the opening minutes of the second period and HIU racked up six shots in the opening ten minutes to only one for the Firestorm.
However, the Firestorm weathered the Royals' offensive outburst and began to put on a show of their own in the latter portion of the second period. Talley made saves for HIU when called on to keep the match locked at 0-0, and despite a handful of chances for each team the match would head to overtime still scoreless after 90 minutes.
While HIU kept control of the ball more than ACU in the first overtime, neither side generated a shot or a corner kick in the first period of overtime. The Royals opened the second overtime period with a corner kick and a header try that went high and ACU was able to counter with a shot of its own in the 108th minute, but as the final buzzer sounded the match would end still locked at 0-0.
Talley made a total of six saves for HIU and challenged several others that went wide, and ACU may have struck gold with their freshman keeper during the recruiting process – the freshman goaltender turned HIU away eight times, including a diving kick-save during a one-on-one while fully extended in midair and diving away from the shot.
The Royals move to 3-3-2 overall on the year while ACU is now 4-2-1 this season after the draw. HIU will be back on the pitch at 12:00 pm Saturday against San Diego Christian at Fullerton College, while ACU travels to Costa Mesa on Saturday to face Vanguard.