Ajoku nets second in three games, equalizer helps men's soccer tie AIC, 1-1

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Sophomore Colby Ajoku (Weymouth, Mass./Boston College HS) scored for the second time in three games on Sunday, providing the 67th-minute equalizer during the Saint Michael's College men's soccer team's 1-1 tie against American International College at Abdow Field. The Purple Knights moved to 6-3-3 overall and 2-3-3 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Yellow Jackets are 3-7-2 and 3-3-2.

Ajoku's marker was his second of the season, with junior Josh Vlasich (East Kingston, N.H./Exeter/Siena) extending his school record to nine assists on the play. Senior Logan Kingman (New Bern, N.C./New Bern) made six saves, as the Purple Knights held a 31-26 edge in shots, including a 29-13 advantage during the final 76 minutes.

Junior Ike Ekwueme (Manchester, N.H./Trinity) scored for the hosts, and first-year Sebastian Tamayo (Stratford, Conn./Bunnell) made 10 saves.

Saint Michael's collected eight of the nine shots attempted in the two overtime periods, including Ajoku twice looking for his second goal of the contest, and Vlasich sending a shot on net that was denied in the 105th minute. Vlasich followed by sending another shot wide in the 107th minute before sophomore back O.J. Rivas' (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) try during the 108th minute went wide as the final opportunity for either team.

Thirteen of the first 15 shots of the game came by Yellow Jackets, with the hosts netting their only goal during the sixth minute of play. After Kingman denied an initial shot by first-year Allen Mehmedovic (Plainville, Conn./Plainville), Ekwueme pounced on the rebound for the go-ahead marker at 5:45. Ekwueme nearly gave his team a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute but hit the crossbar.

While continuing a 27-minute stretch that bridged halftime where they held a 13-2 advantage in shots, the Purple Knights saw Ajoku and Vlasich each turned away by Tamayo, in the 47th and 60th minutes, respectively. The two played roles in the tying marker, however, as Vlasich sent a 67th-minute corner kick that Ajoku deposited into the net at 66:02.

Saint Michael's fired four more shots on the goal during the remainder of regulation - to the Yellow Jackets' one - including when junior Omar Khartabil (Hampstead, N.H./Bridgton Academy) was stopped by Tamayo in the 89th minute. No teammates were able to get a shot away on an ensuing Vlasich corner kick, and the teams went to overtime.

The Purple Knights return home for their next two games, beginning by hosting the University of New Haven next Saturday at 1 p.m.