RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Eduardo Zurita scored a pair of goals inside the final 16 minutes to help top-ranked University of Rio Grande pull away for a 3-1 victory over No. 6 Lindsey Wilson College, Saturday night, at Evan E. Davis Field.
The game was designated as both the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Game of the Week and the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Game of the Week.
The RedStorm, who were facing their third Top 10 foe in four September Saturdays, improved to 10-0 with the win.
Lindsey Wilson, Rio’s chief nemesis during its five-year run as a member of the Mid-South Conference, slipped to 9-2 with the loss.
“It was a great, competitive game, as it always seems to be, when we play each other,” said Rio Grande head coach Scott Morrissey. “We made a couple of adjustments after they got it to 1-1 and I thought we really played well from that point on. We both had chances that we didn’t capitalize on in the first half but, like I said, I thought we controlled the game with the adjustments we made after they tied it up. It was a great win for us.”
Rio took a 1-0 lead just over 16 minutes into the contest when junior Patricio Arce (Santiago, Chile) headed in a corner kick by fellow junior Pau Rodriguez (Barcelona, Spain).
The RedStorm maintained their slim advantage until Lindsey Wilson’s Serge Gomis netted the equalizer with 27:28 left to play, knotting the score at 1-1.
Zurita, a freshman from Barcelona, Spain, put Rio back in front to stay just under 12 minutes later, though, when he gathered in a nifty pass from near midfield by junior Jeremy de Hoog (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and pushed a shot past LWC goal keeper Yuta Nomura.
“That was a big-time goal,” Morrissey said. “Jeremy had only been in the game a couple of minutes and he makes a 60-yard pass that Edu took in stride. His first touch was fantastic and his second touch was in the back of the net. A great ball, a great first touch and a great finish. You really couldn’t have asked for much more there.”
Zurita added an insurance marker for the RedStorm with 9:45 remaining in the match when he headed in a corner kick by de Hoog.
Rio finished with a 20-8 edge in shots, but the only shot on goal by the Blue Raiders was the one that resulted in the marker by Gomis.
Freshman Ben Martinez (Montpellier, France) maintained his perfect record in goal for the RedStorm despite not recording a save.
Nomura stopped four shots in the loss for Lindsey Wilson.
“There’s probably only four or five teams in country who have played the kind of schedule that we have to this point,” said Morrissey. “To come through every weekend where you’re dealing with the likes of Vanguard, Westmont, UNOH, Point Park and, tonight, Lindsey Wilson – that’s a big-time schedule. We’ve still got a lot of work to do and some adjustments to make and it doesn’t get any easier with the target on your back, but we’ve played well so far. We’ll just keep focusing on one game at a time.”
Rio Grande returns to action on Thursday, Oct. 1, hosting KIAC newcomer Ohio Christian University.
Kickoff is set for approximately 7 p.m. at Evan E. Davis Field, following the women’s game between the two schools.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.