Pineville, N.C. - JT Fucci's 90th minute goal proved the difference as the USCAA #4 Johnson & Wales men's soccer team came from behind to defeat Columbia International University 3-2 at the OrthoCarolina Sportsplex.
Fucci's goal came after a cross from Pablo Morera deflected off the head of one of Columbia International's defenders. Rams goalkeeper Dominik Schleinitz could only get a hand to the ball, sending his parry into the path of Fucci for the center back's third goal of the year.
It is the latest winner scored by the Wildcats (10-0-1) in the program's three year history.
"I'm so proud of the guys," said head coach James Drzewiecki. "Columbia International is quality, and it's a program we have a lot of respect for. Our guys proved tonight they have what it takes to succeed in big matches against good opponents. Our second half, especially, I thought we did very well. It's a satisfying result."
Jalen Jackson opened the scoring in the first half with his USCAA leading 21st goal of the year, driving between the center backs with the ball before slotting past Schleinitz to make it 1-0 in the seventh minute.
As the first half wore on, the Rams began to claim the momentum, and were rewarded with an equalizer in the 20th minute through Victor Maron and a second goal in the 31st off the head of Hastin McGill. Columbia International outshot the Wildcats 12-4 in the half and looked to have all the momentum heading into the break.
Johnson & Wales looked more composed in the second half and tied the score at 2-2 less than five minutes in as Sam Fanning fired home his own rebound after Jalen Jackson won the ball deep in Rams territory.
That set the stage for Fucci's heroics, which came with just 26 seconds remaining in the contest.
Wildcats goalkeeper John Lowes finished with nine saves to improve his record to 7-0.
Johnson & Wales will have a quick turnaround as it hosts in-state USCAA rival Mid-Atlantic Christian University on Saturday at the OrthoCarolina Sportsplex. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.