Kasperitis had 15 shots fired his way Tuesday. (File Photo: Antonio Morano Photography / www.moranomemories.photoreflect.com)
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SAN ANTONIO — St. Mary’s goalkeeper Patrick Kasperitis turned 20 on Tuesday, and the visiting Texas–Permian Basin Falcons came prepared with their version of a birthday gift for the redshirt sophomore.
Peppering Kasperitis with one shot after another, the Falcons nearly matched Kasperitis’ age with 15 shots directed his way.
But when the dust settled, the onslaught beat the best of cakes UTPB could have ever offered.
Escaping unscathed, Kasperitis recorded five saves, including deflecting a pair of headers down the stretch, to help the Rattlers hold onto a critical 1–0 victory over the Falcons at Northside ISD Field.
The decisive goal came just 4:43 into the game, as Rodrigo Ramos (Sr., The Woodlands, Texas) converted a Michael Hasbach (Sr., Colleyville, Texas) pass into a scoring strike on a touch shot from inside the box.
From there, it was all defense for the Rattlers.
“It didn’t seem like that much,” said Kasperitis, a Corpus Christi, Texas native, of the shots fired his way, “but when you run into a team that’s always trying to play long balls, there’s always going to be shots. We dealt with it as best we could.”
Avenging a road loss suffered against UTPB (3–8, 1–2 in Heartland Conference) earlier this season, the Rattlers improved to 3–7 on the season with a 2–3 mark in league competition. Texas A&M International leads the conference with a 3–0 mark.
While St. Mary’s struck early, it was UTPB who got most of the looks from there, outshooting the Rattlers 15–7.
But the volume of shots didn’t matter — not with the birthday boy in the net.
“It was tough when we did lose over there, because we did have the better possession, we did keep the ball better,” Kasperitis said of the loss earlier this year to UTPB. “We were unlucky not to score. Today, we went out and got that early goal and really defended well. We played with heart.”
St. Mary’s University, as a Catholic Marianist University, fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community service, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence. The University has six athletic national titles: men’s basketball (1989–NAIA), baseball (2001–NCAA Div. II), softball (1986–NAIA and 2002–NCAA Div. II) and an individual national champion in men’s golf (2006–NCAA Div. II) and a national academic championship in men’s golf (2009–NCAA Div. II). St. Mary’s also had more than 40 percent of its athletes named to conference, regional and/or national honor rolls this past year. St. Mary’s student–athletes graduation rate is 65 percent, higher than the NCAA Division II average of 55 percent. To learn more about St. Mary's, visit www.stmarytx.edu/athletics.