PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Semir Mehmedovic (Zvornik, Bosnia/Franklin H.S./N.H.) scored a pair of goals in the final 15 minutes of the game Wednesday evening, both on penalty kicks, as Plymouth State University rallied for a 2-1 victory over Tufts University in a non-conference men's soccer match at Panther Field.
Mehmedovic (right), who leads the Little East Conference in scoring, tallied two goals in a game for the second straight outing and third time this season. He now has 11 goals on the season, including four game-winners. He helped the Panthers overcome a first-half Tufts goal to pull out the victory, improving to 7-4 overall, while Tufts is now 1-5-2.
The Jumbos maintained possession in the Panther end of the field much of the first 20 minutes of the game. Only a save by a Panther defender on the goal line 10 minutes into the contest kept the Jumbos off the board. Tufts finally broke through at the 26:39 mark when sophomore Rafael Ramos-Meyer (Washington, D.C.) fed a nice ball from about 40 yards out into the box, and senior Bear Duker (Newton, Mass.) headed it into the right side of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
The defense by both teams was tough, as neither was able to generate quality scoring chances the rest of the half. PSU finished with a slim 7-5 margin in shots over the first 45 minutes.
The momentum turned in favor of the home team in the second half as PSU penetrated the Jumbos' end of the field. Mehemdovic almost put the Panthers on the board with 25 minutes on the clock but Tufts senior keeper Pat Tonelli (Andover, Mass.) deflected his free kick over the cross bar with a diving save.
The Jumbos nearly went up by two goals with 18 minutes remaining when senior Dan Schoening (Kenmore, Wash.) dribbled through the PSU defense on the left side but his shot hit the side of the goal post.
With time starting to become a factor, Mehmedovic made a nice move around a Tufts defender in the box when the defender pulled him down, giving Mehmedovic a penalty kick. He deposited it in the back of the goal to deadlock the score, 1-1, with 12:24 to play.
Tufts made a good bid to regain the lead five minutes later when junior Alex Lach (Lexington, Mass.) got a header on a Jumbo corner kick, but Panther keeper Bjorn Ohlsson (Halmstad, Sweden) made a diving save.
Mehmedovic made another move around a Tufts defender in the box with just over three minutes remaining and was again pulled down. That set up his second penalty kick, which he again put into the net, this time to give his team the lead and the eventual victory. Mehmedovic is 3-for-3 on penalty kicks this season.
The Panther senior continues his climb on the PSU career record book. He now has 40 goals, 24 assists and 104 points, and ranks fourth in goals and assists and third in points.
PSU finished with a 15-11 advantage in shots for the game, while Tufts had more corner kicks by a 5-3 count. Tonelli finished with five saves for the Jumbos, while Ohlsson made four saves for the Panthers.
Plymouth State plays its third straight home game this Saturday against Little East Conference foe Rhode Island College (4:30 p.m.). Tufts plays its next four matches at home, beginning Saturday with a NESCAC encounter against Colby (1:30 p.m.)
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