RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Heitor de Melo netted his first goal of the season, while Willian Paulino added his team-high sixth goal of the year to lead the University of Rio Grande to a 2-0 win over Bryan (Tenn.) College, Wednesday night, in non-conference men’s soccer action at the Rio Auxiliary Field.
The RedStorm, ranked No. 5 in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll, improved to 7-0 with the victory.
The Lions fell to 3-3 with the loss.
The RedStorm, who were coming off a win over No. 2-ranked University of Northwestern Ohio last Saturday, came into the match with a 4-0-1 all-time series record against BC. Historically, though, the Lions have hung tough with head coach Scott Morrissey’s squad and Wednesday’s match would be no different.
Both teams started the match with great intensity and physicality – perhaps a bit too physical at the 27:33 mark of the first half – when Rio senior Luiz Filho (Sao Paulo, Brazil) got tangled up with Bryan freshmen Dino Jones and each player received a yellow card for the incident.
Rio Grande, which outshot its guests in the opening half, 12-3, struck first at the 40:45 mark on a goal off a direct kick by de Melo, a junior from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and enjoyed a 1-0 halftime lead.
The RedStorm picked up where they left off after the intermission, playing aggressive early in the second half and that aggressiveness led to a goal by Paulino at the 49:17 mark.
The junior from Sao Paulo, Brazil fired a quick low shot from the top of the 18-yard box and placed it just inside the left post for the score and a 2-0 lead.
While Rio appeared to see its defensive intensity level off after Paulino’s goal, the Lions pushed upfield and had a handful of scoring opportunities, but were turned away by the RedStorm’s freshman goalkeeper, Benjamin Martinez (Montepellier, France), who recorded four saves – two in each half – en route to his third shutout of the year.
Alex Horton started in goal for Bryan, which was outshot 20-10 for the game, and recorded four saves before turning things over to teammate Josue’ Hernandez for the final 5:19 of the contest.
Rio Grande will return to action on Saturday night in its first game of the season at Evan E. Davis Field. It will also be the RedStorm’s Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener, with rival Point Park University providing the opposition. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for theUniversity of Rio Grande.