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Vertal Leads Tartans to 3-2 Win vs. #20 John Carroll

men's soccer player wearing white takes a shot with a defender close by and goalkeeper on the edge of the frame

(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) - The Carnegie Mellon University men's soccer team hosted No. 20 John Carroll University for a mid-week non-conference match and rallied twice before sophomore Ethan Vertal (Herndon, Va. / Oakton) scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute. The Tartans are now 2-0-1 for the year while the Blue Streaks fall for the first time and are 1-1-1.

John Carroll put in the game's first goal in the 17th minute when they had a 3v2 opportunity deep in their offensive third. Jared Ianiro picked up a ball off a Tartan player dribbled to the center of the goal before passing wide to his right to Benjamin Hryszko who touched it right back to Ianiro at the penalty arc.  Ianiro then found Jack Foht wide to his left for a right-footed strike to the near post top corner for the goal.

Not even a minute later the Tartans moved the ball up field and earned a penalty kick when there was a Blue Streak handball in the box. Vertal scored his first of the game and second of the season on that penalty kick to tie the score at 1-1.

The score would hold until less than four minutes into the second half when Nicholas Ruggiero fired a shot to the near post from the left side that deflected off a Tartan defender and straight in the net for the go-ahead goal.

The Tartans would again equalize when freshman Kuba Yiadom (Bowie, Md. / Charles Herbert Flowers) was opportunistic crashing the net on a ball sent into the box by Vertal. The right-footed pass by Vertal curved through a defender's legs and Yiadom beat the keeper to it for the shot and second equalizer of the game in the 58th minute.

With less than nine minutes to play, Vertal made his mark again receiving a pass in the box by junior Josh Baugh (Boynton Beach, Fla. / Boca Prep) from the left sideline. Vertal adjusted his body on the run and put a right-footed shot to the far post side netting for the winner.

"It feels incredible. That's honestly the best way to describe it," said Vertal when asked to describe his feelings on scoring two important goals. "I couldn't have done it without the rest of the team, they did a lot of the hard work and I just gave the deserving end to their great play."

Twice senior keeper Ethan Kalis (Riverwoods, Ill. / Adlai E. Stevenson) came off his line to slide and stop a potential breakaway shot by the Blue Streaks and he made his second and most important save of the second half in the 86th minute when he dove to his right to stop a free kick attempt by William Turrittin to preserve the lead.

"I'm so proud of the boys for showing what we're made of," said Vertal. "It was a great representation of who we are and what we're out to do this season. We fought hard to prove that we're here to make a statement this season. This is just one game in a long season and we're onto the next."

The Tartans will leave their home field for the first time on Saturday, September 11 for their next game to face Westminster College at 3:00 p.m.