RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Although officially recorded as a tie, fourth-seeded West Virginia University-Tech finally found a way to get past the University of Rio Grande in postseason play.
Mark Magallanes’ goal in the eighth round of a penalty kick shootout lifted the Golden Bears over the top-seeded RedStorm in the semifinal round of the River States Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament, Thursday night, at a frosty Evan E. Davis Field.
The match officially ended in a 1-1 draw, but Tech’s 8-7 win in PKs sends the Golden Bears (8-9-3) into Saturday’s tournament title game at No. 2 seed Midway, which ousted sixth-seeded Indiana University East in Thursday’s other semifinal.
Rio Grande, which eliminated WVU Tech from conference tournament play in each of the last two seasons, finished the night at 14-1-2.
The third-ranked RedStorm, who’ll now wait to play in the opening round of the NAIA National Championship Tournament on Nov. 18, failed to make a conference tournament title game for the first time since a loss to the University of the Cumberlands in the
semifinal round of the 2009 Mid-South Conference Tournament.
Rio Grande took a 1-0 lead just over eight minutes into the match when senior Eduardo Zurita (Sant Boi de Llobregat, Spain) — the RSC Player of the Year — took a crossing pass from the right wing by junior Omar Walcott (Kingston, Jamaica) and fired a shot into the
upper right corner of net by Tech net-minder Jose Domingo Xam-mar.
That’s how things stayed until Jesus Naves netted the equalizer for the Golden Bears with 18:14 remaining in the contest, thanks to a feed from Matias Pazos.
Neither team managed a score over the final 18 minutes of regulation and both went scoreless through a pair of 10-minute overtime sessions, sending the game
into a penalty kick decider.
Both teams were perfect through the first five rounds of the shootout — and through two sudden death rounds — before Domingo Xam-mar made a diving save of a shot by Rio junior Harry Reilly (Coventry, England) to give Tech an opportunity for the win.
Magallanes stepped up and fired a shot toward the right side of the goal as Rio Grande freshman keeper Luis Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) dove left, giving the Bears the victory and touching off an on-field celebration to conclude the 2-1/2-hour marathon.
Rio Grande finished with a 20-13 edge in overall shots and a whopping 11-2 advantage in corner kick chances, but Tech actually ended up with a 7-5 cushion in shots on goal.
Domingo Xam-mar stopped four shots for the Golden Bears.
Rodriguez had a season-high six saves for the RedStorm.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.