The Flames rallied from one goal down and held off a late charge from Martin Methodist to capture the first annual Lee Olive Garden Invitational Championship Saturday night, by a 3-2 margin.
Senior Luke Cuthbert fired a penalty kick in the back of the net past Martin Methodist Keeper, Stephen Lunney to give the Flames a commanding 3-1 advantage at the 64th minute mark of the second half.
The Redhawks would strike just two minutes later on a goal from Jermaine Steele, but could get no closer in the defeat.
After the Redhawks struck quick on Juan Madrigal’s third goal of the tournament, Sebastian Vallejo scored the equalizer in the first half on an assist from Sias Reyneke.
Josh Ball continued his stellar play in the tournament putting the Flames up 2-1 by scoring off of Vallejo’s one-timer that hit off the cross.
Lee goalkeeper Tom Halsall had two saves in the Flames victory. Martin Methodist delivered 11 shots, four of which were on target. Martin Methodist keeper Lunney recorded three saves in the defeat.
The Flames were consistent on the attack all night long, with 16 shots in the game, four of which were on goal.
“Certainly a good start to our home season by winning the first annual Lee Olive Garden Invitational Championship” stated coach Paul Furey. “I thought our guys once again showed a lot of character battling back from one goal down and then holding on to a one goal advantage late in the match.”
Furey particularly liked the effort from his leaders up front, noting “Sias, Josh and Sebastian had an excellent tournament.” Furey was quick to add however, “It takes a team effort to beat a good team and our guys stuck together and played well in a very tense and physical match.”
Reyneke took home Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. He had one goal and three assists in the two contests. Ball received Most Valuable Offensive Player honors, as he recorded two goals in the tournament.
Most Valuable Defensive Player went to Martin Methodist midfielder, Niklas Larsson.
“We are very happy Olive Garden has partnered with us” added Coach Furey. “We are looking forward to a long lasting partnership with them.” This was the first year Olive Garden has hosted the men’s invitational.
The Flames will be back in action this Friday as they host Tennessee Wesleyan College at 7 p.m.