San Antonio – Joseph Diaz’s goal in the 68th minute was the difference as St. Mary’s University rallied for a 3-2 victory over the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Heartland Conference men’s soccer action Friday afternoon at St. Mary’s University Soccer Field.
The game was one of the most intense and hard-fought games of the season on the St. Mary’s campus. A total of seven cautions were issued, including two red cards. There were also 31 fouls whistled in the contest.
It didn’t take St. Mary’s long to break out on top in the contest as Daniel Kelly (Fr., Tucson, Ariz.) took a pass from Rodrigo Ramos (So., The Woodlands), dribbled into the penalty area, then beat goalkeeper Gage Peterson for a 1-0 lead just 5:30 into the contest. The Falcons responded in the 18th minute when Marcelo Andres dribbled up the right side of the field and sent a high, arcing shot over goalkeeper Brett Collier’s (Jr., Schertz) head to tie the game at 1-1. That was where things would stay until the second half, despite Ramos receiving a red card to give UTPB a one-man advantage.
Just 1:44 into the second half UTPB took its first lead of the game when Luis Paiva smacked the ball into the net off a rebound to make the score 2-1. Despite playing one man down for most of the match the Rattlers continued to challenge and just 2:01 after the second UTPB goal, the Rattlers tied things up. Adam Villanueva picked up a loose ball outside the penalty area, turned and drilled a shot to the upper 90, tying the game at 2-2.
That was where things stood until the 68th minute when Bryon Plagge (Sr., San Antonio) sent a cross through the penalty area to Diaz (Fr., San Antonio), who flipped the ball over his head, and that of the defender and goal keeper, into the net, giving the Rattlers a 3-2 lead. From there Collier and the defense took over, making five saves to preserve the one- goal lead.
With the win the Rattlers improved to 4-9 overall and 1-7 in Heartland Conference play this season. UTPB fell to 6-5-4 and 1-3-2. St. Mary’s will return to action on Sunday when they play Newman University in a Heartland Conference matchup at 2 p.m. at St. Mary’s University Soccer Field.