NORFOLK, Va. — After winning the Conference USA men’s soccer regular-season championship, Marshall set out to finish off the double at the ODU Soccer Complex this week.
Almost fittingly, it took double-overtime for Marshall to pull off its double in the championship match against Charlotte.
Pedro Dolabella headed home a corner kick from teammate Jonas Westmeyer in the 103rd minute giving Marshall its first-ever Conference USA Men’s Soccer Championship in a 1-0 win Sunday afternoon.
With the win, Marshall (15-2-3) earns its first-ever Conference USA Tournament Championship and receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
At 1 p.m. Monday, the team is hosting a Watch Party for the NCAA Selection Show at Fat Patty’s in Huntington that is open to the public.
There is also a chance that the Herd could be chosen to host, and that will become known on Monday.
Sunday’s matchup featured Conference USA’s co-winners of the Golden Glove Award, which is given to the top goalkeeper in the league — Charlotte’s Elliott Panicco and Marshall’s Paulo Pita.
That, on top of a wind that produced gusts of up to 30 miles per hour, made for a difficult day for players who were looking to score.
Marshall finally broke through in the second overtime when a run by Milo Yosef resulted in a corner kick just over two minutes into the session.
Westmeyer lined up the kick and sent it backpost to Dolabella, who was unmarked. Dolabella skipped his header off the ground, and it deflected off the gloves of Panicco and barely into the side of the net to give Marshall the title.
It was a tally that seemed to be coming for quite some time as Marshall dominated play during the second half of regulation and the overtime sessions.
Yosef had nearly ended the match in the first overtime when he ran onto a pass forward, but his effort was wide to the short side of Panicco.
The goal was also vindication for Dolabella, who missed a similar attempt off a Westmeyer corner kick in the 67th minute.
While Marshall was the aggressor over the final 60 minutes, it was Charlotte (11-3-4) who came out strong as sloppy possession by the Herd in the first half led to several opportunities for the 49ers.
Charlotte had seven first-half shots and ended with nine in the match, but Pita was stronger on the day, finishing with six saves in victory.
Dolabella’s goal was the first that either team scored against each other this season.
In their regular-season matchup, the teams fought to a scoreless draw.
Sunday’s match represented the first Conference USA Championship match that had gone to extra time since 2010 when South Carolina earned a 1-0 win.