PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville men’s soccer team was denied its first win of the season Wednesday night at home against Bluefield College by three late goals and a hat trick for Erik Albarran in a wild romp that finished 6-4.
The game was the best offensive performance so far this season for the Bears, who have looked more and more confident in recent matches.
Freshman midfielder Austin Mustain had the opener in the 16th minute, when he stole away an errant pass and shot into the back corner of the net to put the Bears out front. In what would become a recurring theme, UPIKE’s goal was quickly answered by a close-range goal for the Rams as James Gunn’s foot found the end of Michael Callaghan’s cross near the goal.
Freshman Garrett Kee came on as a forward and got the lead back for the Bears by collecting Djemston Lormistois’ shot, which had gone low to the right, then finishing it from a very awkward angle to send the Bears to halftime with a 2-1 advantage.
The second half provided some of the most intense action Bears faithful have been treated to this season with seven goals. Erik Albarran equalized for the visitors in the 57th minute, but UPIKE was confident after seeing Shawn Stanley sent off with a straight red card for his challenge on Ernzo Telusma, forcing the Rams to play the final third of the game a man down.
Their confidence was rewarded when Nkengafac Lekealem won a loose ball on the edge of the box and shot just past Jefferson Watson to put Pikeville back on top in the 70th minute, but Albarran struck again just two minutes later after a big assist from James Gunn.
Lormistois then produced a highlight-worthy goal in the 75th. After intercepting a pass, Lormistois shot from where he stood 35 yards out, going off the hands of Watson and into the goal.
The Bears looked set to pull off the upset until the 82nd minute, when a handball in the box led to a penalty kick which Callaghan converted. Defender Jacob Mader got Bluefield its first lead five minutes from the final horn, and Albarran struck again in the 89th to complete his hat trick.
The Bears (0-8, 0-6 in MSC) now must look to their Saturday trip to the University of Rio Grande, the nation’s top-ranked team. The Rams (6-7, 2-3 in MSC) will also have a conference game Saturday when they host St. Catharine.