San Antonio – At one point Friday afternoon, St. Mary’s midfielder Amanda Cardoza jogged off the field to tend to blood that appeared to be dripping from her face.
But by the end of the game, she was bolting from he field for the figurative blood she had drawn from East Central.
Cardoza broke a deadlocked battle with a left-footed strike in the 89th minute to propel the Lady Rattlers past East Central, 2-1, at the Northside ISD Soccer Field.
“There was no time left,” said Cardoza, a junior from El Paso, Texas. “It was either go big or go home. We had to take advantage.”
Cardoza’s goal, her first of the season, lifted the Rattlers to 3-2 on the season and dropped East Central to 0-4-1. The strike also capped off a physical, feisty battle that saw numerous players leave the game with injury.
Melina Macias (Jr., San Antonio) left with an injury and did not return, while Claire Etter (Jr., Boerne, Texas) joined Cardoza in momentarily heading to the bench after suffering a bloody nose. Meanwhile, East Central wasn’t immune from injuries, as starting goalkeeper Malcolm Hunter left in the 70th minute and did not return after getting kicked in the head, leaving Stephanie Gutierrez, a position player, to man the net the rest of the way.
“It (was unfortunate) for them,” Cardoza said of the injury, “but we knew we had to capitalize on it.”
Alyssa Taramona, a freshman from Forney, Texas, made her first start in the net for St. Mary’s, recording six saves and allowing one goal. St. Mary’s had seven shots in the game, with six being on goal.
St. Mary’s trailed 1-0 after giving up a goal 8:34 into the game, but knotted things up in the 41st minute when Leah Snelson scored unassisted on a high kick to the top-left corner. It was Snelson’s third goal of the season and came on the heels of her being named the Heartland Conference Offensive Player of the Week this week.
The Lady Rattlers will now turn their attention back to Heartland Conference competition, as they host Texas A&M International at 12 p.m. Sunday.
“Coach (Corwyn Ritch) said before the game that we are at the turning part of the season,” Cardoza said. “We’re either going to make it or we’re not. This gives us a lot of confidence entering our big game on Sunday.”