COLUMBIA, Ky. — Pau Rodriguez recorded his fourth two-goal performance of the season, while Maxi Viera ended a more than month-long scoring drought, as the sixth-ranked University of Rio Grande captured both the Mid-South Conference Tournament title and the automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship Tournament with a 3-1 win over Cumberland (TN) University, Friday evening, at Lindsey Wilson College’s Walter S. Reuling Stadium.
The RedStorm (15-2-2) wasted no time, as Rodriguez - a freshman forward from Barcelona, Spain - received a pass from fellow freshman William Paulino (Sao Paulo, Brazil) inside the box and fired it past CU goalkeeper Ian Hamilton to strike first blood just nine minutes into the match.
The Bulldogs (7-13-1) would knot things up just 10 minutes later after a Tom Riley goal from 12 yards out got past junior Rio Grande goalkeeper Jon Dodson (Tiffin, OH).
That would be all that Dodson would allow for the rest of the night, though, as a second Rodriguez goal in the 58th minute and an insurance goal by Viera, a senior midfielder from Montevideo, Uruguay, would tally the end result.
Rio Grande owned the shot advantage by a count of 14-6, with a shots on goal edge of 7-1.
Dodson did not record a save for the RedStorm despite playing the full 90 minutes, while Hamilton saved four Rio Grande shots for CU and allowed the three goals.
The RedStorm will now wait until November 23rd to play their opening round game of the national tournament, which will be a home contest in the friendly confines of Evan E. Davis Field.
Both the opponent and time of the match will be announced on Monday afternoon.