RIO GRANDE — In its previous 27 matches with Rio Grande, and heading into Saturday evening’s non-conference tilt against its archrival, the Shawnee State men’s soccer squad had never beaten or tied the nationally-ranked RedStorm.
However, Bas Markus and the outstanding Shawnee State defensive effort made certain that a different script was to be written this time.
Despite a 31-6 shots advantage by Rio Grande — and the RedStorm taking a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute on an Ewan McLauchlan goal — Shawnee State got a huge lift with just 88 seconds to go as Guillermo Conejo Martin’s second career goal, and two deadlocked overtime periods, allowed the Bears to tie Rio Grande for the first-time ever at Evan E. Davis Field in Rio Grande.
Markus splendid in goal
Having never made more than seven saves in a single collegiate game, Markus put together an effort in goal that was nothing short of big time.
Facing a strong Rio Grande offense that had posted two or more goals in four of its five contests, including two goals in a recent loss to No. 2-ranked Oklahoma Wesleyan University, the 6-7 goalkeeper took it upon himself to shut Rio Grande’s offense down — using his strong charges outside of the penalty box and several outstanding dives to put a stranglehold on the RedStorm attack.
Outside of an 82nd-minute save that kept SSU within striking distance late in regulation, as well as a 103rd-minute stop that kept the game locked at a 1-1 tie, Markus’ most critical stretch might have been between the 35th through 42nd minutes of action — where the Marum, Netherlands product made four saves in that seven-minute span.
Markus’ play against Rio Grande was good enough for a .909 save percentage.
Conejo Martin continues
fantastic burst with late goal
Needing to strike after falling behind at the 57th minute, Shawnee State capitalized late in large part due to the play of Conejo Martin, who notched his second goal of the season and his career with 1:28 to play — to force both overtimes and the eventual tie.
Despite a veteran-laced front line, Martin has already made his presence felt with his strong ball skills and quickness, having notched six points for the 2021 season in five games (two goals, two assists).
Bears make history
Along with tying Rio Grande for the first time in 28 meetings, Shawnee State had only kept the score within four goals to the RedStorm at least one time since online records were kept yearly in the sport in 2005.
That was in 2012, when the Bears battled Rio Grande to a scant 1-0 setback at Shawnee Turf.
That match was also the last time that SSU went to double overtime with the RedStorm.
Shawnee State (3-1-1) will get an eight-day break before returning to action at Lindsey Wilson (Sept. 21) — for what will be its Mid-South Conference opener.
Game time is set for 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
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