RedStorm tops Racers in Top 10 battle

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Albeit in a different season with different teams, the University of Rio Grande extracted a measure of revenge on Saturday night.

And the RedStorm had, arguably, their best overall performance of the year in the process.

Eduardo Zurita scored on a pair of penalty kicks, while Ben Mendoza and Mitchell Osmond added goals of their own to fuel a 4-1 non-conference win over the University of Northwestern Ohio in a battle of ranked squads at Evan E. Davis Field.

Rio Grande, ranked No. 4 in the latest NAIA coaches’ poll, improved to 5-1 with the win and avenged its lone regular season loss from a year ago.

The Racers, who are ranked 10th, slipped to 2-2-1 with the loss.

Zurita, a junior from Sant Boi de Llobregat, Spain, scored the first of his two markers just 10:03 into the contest on a penalty kick which ricocheted off the crossbar, past UNOH goal keeper Caio Preza and into the net.

Mendoza, a junior from Chichester, England, made it 2-0 just over 20 minutes later, lofting a floater from 35 yards out that was partially deflected by the Racers and somehow got behind Preza and into the net.

The lead grew to 3-0 a little more than a minute into the second half when Osmond – a junior from Sydney, Australia – headed a free kick from the right sideline by Reilly, a junior from Coventry, England, past the Racers’ reserve net-minder Mark McMillan.

Zurita’s second score of the night came on another penalty kick at 53:20, while UNOH managed its only score on a free kick by Marc Skelton with 10:12 remaining in the contest.

The RedStorm finished with a 9-8 edge in shots overall – including a 6-1 edge in the opening half – and a 4-2 advantage in shots on frame.

Freshman Luiz Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) earned the win in goal for Rio Grande, although he failed to record a save.

Neither Preza or McMillan managed a save for the Racers.

There were 37 fouls whistled in the match – 19 against UNOH and 18 against Rio – and five yellow card cautions were issued between the two teams.

Rio Grande will close out its three-game homestand against another ranked team when former Mid-South Conference rival and 14th-ranked Lindsey Wilson College visits for a rare Sunday night game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

Randy Payton can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.