COLUMBIA — Freshman defender Jovan Ilic smiled wide and slapped junior Edgar Reyna on the back after Wednesday evening's game against Lindenwood University.
"What took you so long?" he asked his teammate.
Reyna scored the match's only goal in the 108th minute of the second overtime period, giving a long game an abrupt end and sending Lindenwood University packing 1-0.
It was the first goal as a Cougar for Reyna, who is a junior college transfer from Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz.
"It was pretty cool in overtime," he said. "It's the best feeling ever."
Reyna got a foot on the end of a cross from junior Dylan Barduzzi, beating the Lions' goalkeeper.
"I have to say that Reyna scored a terrific goal and he deserve it," Ilic said. "He played so hard."
Ilic, on the other hand, was a vocal leader in the Cougars' effort against the Lions. Usually, sophomore captain Nikola Velickovic's voice can be heard during games, but it was accompanied by Ilic's Wednesday evening.
"C'mon guys! Keep it up," and "too much space boys" could all be heard from Ilic, a freshman defender from Serbia.
Ilic even directed his attention to the crowd and tried to get them involved in cheering for the Cougars.
"Fans, we need you," he shouted.
Ilic wanted the crowd to give his team a boost of energy.
"We played very good," he said, "but we just need one more step to win, and I did my best to put the crowd in, to help us and they listened to me."
Columbia College coach John Klein said he thinks the veteran Velickovic is an influence on Ilic.
"I think he's picking up some tips from Nikola," he said. "I think the two can be a real strong pair back there."
Klein also said he encouraged his team to be vocal before the game.
"We did talk," he said. "We thought there needed to be more communication on the field. So if you heard Jovan back there, that was part of the discussion to just get some communication going."
Ilic said he just wanted to help his team, especially Velickovic, who told Ilic he was tired.
"I tried to bring him up, to bring everybody up," Ilic said. "Maybe I succeeded. Maybe it was my part to bring everybody up."