San Antonio – A red card awarded to Newman University late in Friday’s contest seemed to present the St. Mary’s University men’s soccer team with a reversal of fortunes.
Down a goal, the Rattlers were suddenly up a man.
But just as they looked poised for a comeback, the rain clouds opened up at St. Mary’s Soccer Field, sullying everything.
A torrential downpour brought lightning, causing a mandatory delay midway through the second half. And when the Rattlers retook the field nearly 90 minutes later, the conditions didn’t exactly facilitate their comeback hopes in an eventual 1-0 loss.
The Rattlers played out the final 19:51 on a water-logged field, where players were slipping and sliding and the ball had no bounce.
“Everyone on the field wanted to do everything the best and give 110 percent,” said freshman defender Uros Ceglaj, a Slovenia native who made his Rattler debut Friday. “Even though we had some mistakes, today we didn’t get credit for that (the effort).”
Newman’s Matt McConnell scored the winning goal in the 56th minute in an unfortunate sequence for the Rattlers (1-2). Goaltender Patrick Kasperitis (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) made a stunning, leaping stop on a shot, but as he came down to the ground the ball fell out of his hands. McConnell, standing nearby, got the rebound and fired it into the top-right corner of the net for the game’s only goal.
St. Mary’s looked like it was about to punch in the tying goal with 8:23 remaining, as Marcos Perez (So., El Paso, Texas) – also making his Rattler debut – collected a rebound following a missed header near the goal. But his shot sailed wide left by the narrowest of margins to maintain the Rattlers’ deficit.
St. Mary’s outshot Newman 13-4.
“We can show that we’re the best in this league,” Ceglaj said. “It’s not just that we are the best. We need to show that we are the best.”
St. Mary’s hosts Northeastern State University at 12 p.m. Sunday.