DeGrazia’s OT goal lifts Eagles past Newman 3-2 in finale

Senior Tommy Guernsey assisted on the game-winning goal as OC beat Newman 3-2 in two overtimes.
Senior Tommy Guernsey assisted on the game-winning goal as OC beat Newman 3-2 in two overtimes.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 3, 2012) – Oklahoma Christian hasn’t done much the easy way in 2012 and the season finale against Newman (Kan.) certainly was no exception.

The Eagles needed a goal with four minutes left from Sam Guernsey to force overtime, then won 3-2 after Domenico DeGrazia scored in the 103rd minute in the second extra period.

It was the fourth come-from-behind win this season for OC (8-9), which completed a season sweep of Heartland Conference rival Newman (6-11-1). It was OC’s fifth straight win over the Jets, a streak that dates to 2005.

“I don’t know what it was with this team, but it seemed like we always had to fall behind before we started really playing,” OC coach David Scott said. “We seemed really flat, but as soon as we went behind, we had a lot of energy and played a lot better.

“For as young as we are and with all the changes we’ve had to make during the season, I’m just really proud of this group. We told them at the beginning of the season that we could play with anyone in this conference. We’ve got to limit our mistakes a little bit more, but we are learning.”

Newman took the lead in the 27th minute, as Marcio Souza scored on a shot from the right side, with Jordan Saybounkham assisting. The Jets went up 2-0 – and seemingly had control of the game – after Nathan Modesto converted a penalty kick after OC goalkeeper Tim Spencer was called for a foul in the penalty box.

But less than a minute later, OC earned a penalty kick of its own and Ricardo Chinchilla converted, slicing the Jets’ lead in half. The Eagles kept the pressure on – they outshot Newman 29-22 – but didn’t break through until the 87th minute, when Colin Pinnell fed Guernsey for the tying goal.

Newman missed two golden chances to win during the first 10-minute overtime period. In the 94th minute, Pinnell cleared a shot by Newman’s Matt McConnell off the goal line, and in the 98th minute, Nicos Esquivel hit the post with a close-in shot.

“We did dodge some bullets there,” Scott said.

The Eagles scored the golden goal less than three minutes into the second overtime. Tommy Guernsey, a senior playing in his final collegiate game, hit a streaking DeGrazia with a pass and DeGrazia finished by beating Newman goalkeeper Robin Allard.

Allard had a stellar outing, making 11 saves, while Spencer – who’s started most of the past four seasons for the Eagles – had four saves.

The game was the final one for six OC seniors – Tommy Guernsey, Duc Huynh, Mario Romero, Cion Samuel, Spencer and Don Towner.

“I’m thrilled for the seniors tonight to go out like that and have a result like that,” Scott said. “The whole night felt like we had the game. It was just a matter of time. All of the seniors played great tonight.”