San Antonio – Two quick strikes from the St. Mary’s University men’s soccer team had put St. Edward’s on the ropes Friday afternoon.
But like any good team, the Hilltoppers had a counter punch ready.
St. Edward’s stormed back with three unanswered strikes to win 3-2, stealing a potential “Battle of the Saints” victory from the Rattlers at St. Mary’s Soccer Field.
“It was a disappointment that we didn’t win, but it’s hard to have our heads down,” St. Mary’s coach Que Willis said. “I thought we played pretty well. We fought.”
David Anthony Oliver (So., San Antonio) scored first for St. Mary’s, taking a pass in space from Sean Strater (Sr., Carrollton, Texas) and chipping in a shot over the goalkeeper from about 18 yards out in the 14th minute.
Anthony Bustos (So., Helotes, Texas) made it 2-0 with a clear shot from the box, capitalizing on an assist from Oliver in the 32nd minute.
But St. Edward’s offense would awaken against the Rattlers’ stifling defense. Daniel Riley put St. Edward’s on the board nearly a minute after Bustos’ goal, while Daniel Pena tied things up on a shot from about 30 yards out in the 82nd minute.
Matt McLaughlin punched in the game winner with just under four minutes remaining, scoring from 15 yards on a rebound following a free kick.
“They got a little lucky if you ask me, but they got the goal they needed,” Willis said.
With the victory, the Hilltoppers improved to 9-4-2. Though St. Mary’s dropped to 3-11 overall and 1-6 in the Heartland Conference, Willis said the Rattlers played with the kind of confidence they had been lacking.
“They’ve been battling with confidence,” said Willis, whose squad defeated St. Edward’s 1-0 on the road earlier this season. “We played with real confidence and got up early. I thought they deserved to be up. They know walking away that they did enough to win, they just didn’t get it done. I don’t think they’ll have their heads down.”
St. Mary’s will return to the field for its home finale on Sunday, when it takes on West Texas A&M University at Noon. The game also marks “Senior Appreciation Day.”