CENTERVILLE, Ind. — Good teams find ways to survive solid opposition and less than ideal playing conditions – particularly those with something to play for.
Such was the case Thursday night for the University of Rio Grande men’s soccer team.
The RedStorm outlasted winter-like conditions, which included wind-blown snow and wind chill figures in the upper teens, and a spirited effort from Indiana University East to post a 3-0 win over the Red Wolves in River States Conference action at Centerville High School.
Rio Grande, ranked No. 13 in the latest NAIA coaches’ poll, improved to 14-3 overall and 8-1 in conference play with the victory in its regular season finale.
The win also secured a No. 2 seed in the upcoming RSC Tournament for head coach Scott Morrissey’s squad, who will host the survivor of the quarterfinal round match between the No. 3 seed and the No. 6 seed on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Evan E. Davis Field.
IU East, which could’ve earned the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the tourney with a win, slipped to 12-5 overall and 6-2 in the RSC with the loss.
The Red Wolves outshot the RedStorm, 11-8, but managed only three shots on goal in the contest.
Rio Grande scored what proved to be the only marker it would need just 8:44 into the contest when freshman Sebastian Borquez (Santiago, Chile) poked in the rebound of a shot by sophomore teammate Nicolas Cam Orellana (Santiago, Chile) which was saved by IUE net-minder Aaron Gipson.
That’s how things changed until the RedStorm sealed the win with a pair of second half goals which came in a span of just 26 seconds.
Junior Ewan McLauchlan (Aroch, Scotland) gave Rio an insurance marker on an unassisted goal with 18:33 left to play, while sophomore Michael Garcia (London, England) scored off a touch by junior Callum Malanaphy (Stourbridge, England) with 18:07 remaining to set the final score.
Senior Richard Dearle (Castle Donington, England) stopped three shots in goal en route to a clean sheet for the RedStorm.
Gipson had four saves in a losing cause for IU East.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.