COLUMBIA — With one minute left in the match, the Columbia College soccer team was nearing a celebration, leading 1-0 against Baker University.
But after a foul was called about 20 yards from the goal, Baker had its first real chance to tie the game. Micah Nelson took the free kick for the Wildcats and drove the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to send the game to overtime, leaving Columbia College goalie Zach Clem and Cougar fans stunned.
After the emotional blow of letting a lead slip away, the Cougars took another hit when Dylan Barduzzi was given a red card and thrown out of the game for foul language during the third minute of the first of two overtime periods.
Columbia College's Parker Rawdon saved the Cougars from a loss when he scored during the sixth minute in the second overtime with one man down to give the Cougars (8-6-3) a 2-1 win.
"I was on the left side and Brian Eike was about to cross it, but then (he) saw me and passed it to me," Rawdon said. "I just sprinted to the goal and hit it as hard as I could with the outside of my foot and it just went in the corner."
Rawdon scored the Cougar's first goal as well, which came in 13 minutes into the game. Senior Zak Cobb tallied in the assist.
"Zak nutmegged the guy in front of him and took the two defenders with him," Rawdon said. "He split the defenders and all I had to do was tap it over the goalie."
A freshman from St.Louis, Rawdon was unsure of his future in soccer during his senior year of high school.
"In the beginning of my senior year, I didn't have the best grades and my ACT score was low," Rawdon said. "A lot of schools looked at me (to play soccer), but they couldn't give me a scholarship to play because I didn't have the GPA to get an athletic scholarship."
After discussions with Columbia College coach John Klein, Rawdon was offered a scholarship.
"He's a terrific soccer player," Klein said. "He is aggressive, he's intense and good on the ball. He's a good finisher, and though he hasn't had a lot of success finishing this year, he certainly finished tonight."
Klein was happy with the win and hopes to carry its momentum to the Cougar's last regular season game on Sunday against Truman State.
"I thought this was the best win for the program in two years," Klein said. "The fight against an aggressive opponent and the hunger those guys had to find the victory. This is playoff soccer."
Columbia College's first post-season game will be at home at 1 p.m. on Nov. 8 against William Woods University.