Academy U18s steal late draw, U16s roll

Academy U18s steal late draw, U16s roll
Rex Epps volleys in the dramatic equalizer against IMG Academy Sunday morning at Blackbaud.

Rex Epps volleys in the dramatic equalizer against IMG Academy Sunday morning at Blackbaud.

(9/30/2013 Editor’s note: Longer recap and full gallery here.)

Got to watch both the U18s and U16s for the S.C. United Battery Academy Sunday morning, and long story short, the older team struggled on offense into the final minute, and then shocked IMG Bradenton with a brilliant equalizer on a volley from Rex Epps, while the younger team avenged Saturday’s 0-2 loss IMG with a dominant 4-0 performance.

I’ll write through this later  and post full galleries, but I wanted to put something up today.

Epps’ equalizer was every bit as dramatic as the photo suggests. With time draining out on the Battery Academy with a 0-1 deficit, their final attack manged to cross the ball from the left to the right, and a last centering-ball found Epps, a midfielder/forward from Lexington County, tightly marked at the top of the six. His athletic volley-smash beat the keeper to the lower right post.

Afterward, his teammates dragged Epps to the ground and mobbed him in celebration.

“This was a draw that felt like a win,” said Academy Coach Clark Brisson.

In the U16s match, the team got goals from  Conor Sloan, Marcelo Malpartida, Nick Wright and Robbie Robinson.

The match was the U18s/U16s’ final appearance at Blackbaud this fall, and was played as a two-day double header to save on IMG’s travel costs. The Battery U18s won Saturday’s match 1-0,  while the younger group lost 0-2.

Like I said: Full write-up and gallery later, when I have time…

TOP IMAGE: The S.C. United Battery Academy struggled to find its offensive punch for most of Saturday morning match. This set-piece header by Dakota Hawkins was one of the Battery’s better chances, but the play was negated by an over-the-ball foul call.  Dan Conover photos.

Conor Sloan opened the scoring for the U16s with a strike for his fourth goal of the season.

Conor Sloan opened the scoring for the U16s with a strike for his fourth goal of the season.