Sports Information Director
Notre Dame, IND. -- After suffering back-to-back road losses, the Holy Cross Saints men's soccer team returned home on Saturday to square off with former Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) foe Illinois Tech. 90 minutes was not enough time to decide a winner in this non-conference matchup, as the Saints played their third overtime game of the season. With three minutes left to play in the second overtime, it was senior Garbhan Grant (Letterkenny, Ireland) who netted the game-winning goal, his third of the game, to push the Saints to their first ever victory over the Scarlet Hawks by a final score of 3-2.
"It was an impressive effort from our team today," said head coach Omar Gallo. "We faced some adversity today playing with only one sub, and I thought the players played their hearts out. Guys were hurting, and you could see it on the field, but they didn't quit and continued to play until the end of the game. I'm very proud of their effort and willingness to fight until the end of the game."
It seemed that every time the Saints obtained momentum in Saturday's non-conference finale that the Scarlet Hawks would find a way to steal it back.
Garbhan Grant got things going for the Saints early in the first half after he finished off a pass from Michael Maiorano (Whitby, Ontario, Canada) in the box to give the Saints a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
The Saints lead continued for the majority of the first half until the Scarlet Hawks tied the game in the 41st minute.
Illinois Tech finished the half strong with their late goal and held a 9-8 advantage in shots over the Saints.
The second half was as intense as the first, with both teams generating double-digit shot attempts.
With less than 20 minutes remaining in regulation, a free kick from Garbhan Grant at midfield turned into an incredible goal as Grant timed the shot perfectly to sail over the Scarlet Hawks goalkeeper. The goal from grant, his second of the game, gave the Saints a 2-1 lead with 18 minutes to play.
Once again, though, the Scarlet Hawks were back to steal the Saints momentum. Nordine Amlaiky finished off a pass from Robert Rixer in the 83rd minute to tie the game at 2-2.
After 90 minutes of action the game headed to overtime. Neither team was able to score in the first 10 minute frame, so one final session was necessary to decide the result in this game.
Both teams were fighting for that desired victory in the final 10 minutes, but it was the Saints who came out on top after Garbhan Grant finished off the corner kick from fellow captain Alex Clarke (Liverpool, England) to end the game at 3-2 with just 3:27 left in the session.
Grant finished the game scoring all three goals for his first career hat-trick. In the process, he became the all-time point's leader in Holy Cross men's soccer history with 42.
"The guys dug down deep to pull out this victory," continued Gallo. "They played tired and hurt but never gave up. They were faced with adversity (having only one sub for the entire game) and showed that they could overcome it.
"We had the momentum taken from us twice and they could have easily thrown in the towel. The fact that they didn't and found a way to win is a testament to the type of players they are. They aren't going to let adversity get them down. I'm just thrilled for them with this win."
The Saints (7-4, 2-2 CCAC) extended their home winning streak to five games with the 3-2 victory and enjoyed their first ever victory over the Scarlet Hawks. They will resume conference play on Wednesday, October 16 against Robert Morris (Ill.) University. The game will begin at 4:00 p.m. EST.