It had been two seasons since Appalachian State University men's soccer senior John Walrath (Raeford, N.C./Hoke County) scored a goal, but that all changed on Tuesday evening at Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.
Walrath was fed a beautiful ball inside the box from Juan Hernandez (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) before placing the shot between the goalkeeper's legs with under a minute left in the first overtime to lift App State (4-5-3) to an exhilirating 1-0 triumph over a pesky UNC Asheville (1-12) team that came in looking to snap a five-match skid.
"Great team win and shutout," head coach Jason O'Keefe said following the victory. "Credit to UNCA as they competed for every minute. We're proud of our guys to stay with it, stay composed and together to find a way to get the win in the end. We will recover and get ready for a very good Hartwick team on Saturday. Please come out and support the team in a massive Sun Belt match."
It was Walrath's first goal of the season while becoming the eighth Mountaineer of the season to tally a score. Last season, App had seven student-athletes find the back of the net.
In front of a packed Ted Mack, the Mountaineers pulled through to improve to 3-1-2 at home, surpassing last season's win total and getting to within just one victory from matching last season's win output with six contests left in the campaign.
Goalkeeper Jake Chasteen (Boone, N.C./Watauga) and the defense bent but didn't break with a third-consecutive shutout and the fourth in the past six matches. App State has not allowed a goal in 304 straight minutes dating back to the Sept. 26 contest against then-No. 19 Duke, while the last time Appalachian allowed a goal at home was on Sept. 9 against ETSU. Chasteen came away with two saves on the evening including a big stop in overtime. After Tuesday, the Boone native is now one of two goalkeepers in the Sun Belt with a goals-against average under one (.933).
App did have its opportunities in the match to get up more goals on the board with some clean looks from Reed Hunnicutt (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg), Marc Pfrogner (Aurach, Germany), Felix Kollmannthaler (Frankfurt, Germany), and Hernandez. The Mountaineers kept the pressure on the UNCA defense all night until they broke through on a free kick leading to the game's lone goal.
The Mountaineers posted a 13-6 advantage in shots with a 5-2 edge in shots on goal. App also had an 8-6 tally in corner shots as well.
Appalachian will host Hartwick in its Sun Belt home opener on Saturday in the second home contest of a three-game homestand. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.