IRVINE, Calif. — For the second consecutive season, the University of Rio Grande watched its national title hopes squashed on a corner kick opportunity in overtime.
Marc Skelton’s second-touch header with just over three minutes to play in the extra session lifted the University of Northwestern Ohio to a 2-1 win over the RedStorm, Monday afternoon, in the second round of the NAIA Men’s Soccer Championship at OC Great Park Soccer Stadium.
The Racers, who were ranked No. 21 in the final regular season coaches’ poll, improved to 14-3-6 with the win and advances to Wednesday’s quarterfinal round against top-seeded Central Methodist (Mo.)
Rio Grande, which was ranked No. 10 and seeded ninth in the tourney, finished its season at 16-4-1 with the loss.
The RedStorm, who lost to Missouri Valley College in the quarterfinal round of last year’s national tourney on a corner kick in the second overtime period, grabbed a 1-0 lead just 11:09 into the contest when senior Omar Walcott (Kingston, Jamaica) found the back of the net from 12 yards out off a crossing pass from the right wing by junior Ewan McLauchlan (Aroch, Scotland).
UNOH tied the game with 12:20 remaining in the first half when Mikhail Radchenko headed in a corner kick by teammate Devin Morgan.
That’s how things stayed throughout the remainder of regulation time and into the extra period before the Racers struck for the game-winning marker.
Another corner kick chance by Morgan was headed across the box by Jimmy Morrissey, where Skelton snared the ball out of mid-air and headed in the game-winning golden goal, allowing UNOH to avenge a 2-1 loss at home to RedStorm on September 5.
Rio Grande finished with a 16-12 edge in shots overall, but the Racers had five of the seven shots on frame in the match.
Mark McMillan recorded one save in goal for UNOH.
Senior keeper Richard Dearle (Castle Donington, England) had three saves in a losing cause for the RedStorm.
Monday’s game marked the final contest in a Rio uniform for Walcott, Dearle and fellow seniors James Williamson (San Jose, Costa Rica) and Spencer Reinford (McAlisterville, PA).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.