ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - The No. 4 Belhaven (Miss.) men's soccer team kept its perfect season alive on Saturday defeating 15th-ranked Texas at Brownsville, 3-2.
Belhaven (7-0) fired the first volley of the match in the 13th minute when senior midfielder Guilherme Sousa broke loose behind the UTB/TSC defense for the goal to make it 1-0. Eduardo Cruz provided the assist with a perfect pass that setup Sousa's shot in front of the net.
The Blazers maintained their one goal advantage until the 26th minute when Ricardo Diegues delivered the equalizer for Texas-Brownsville (1-1-3). Both offenses then went silent until the later stages of the second half.
The 1-1 tie was finally broken in the 73rd minute when Belhaven's senior defender Tom Cosgrave headed in a shot past goalie Ben Perez to build a 2-1 lead. Loic Miliani added his seventh assist of the season by lending a helping hand on the Cosgrave goal.
Diegues took it upon himself to shoulder the UTB/TSC offense, scoring his second goal of the night in the 85th minute to knot the match at 2-2. This time he had some help from Jair Reyna who dished out the assist. Texas-Brownsville only had three shots on goal the entire match and all three came off the foot of Diegues who found the back of the net with two of them. The other resulted in the only save of the night for Belhaven goalkeeper Carl Blundell.
UTB/TSC managed to contain Monsour for most of the night, but he came up big in the 87th minute to notch the game winner. Monsour, the NAIA's leading scorer with 13 goals on the season, took advantage of a UTB turnover and tucked the ball into the net to make it 3-2. The Blazers defense locked down the UTB/TSC offense for the final three minutes to secure the win.
Coach Dan Balaguero's thoughts on the game were " Can't fault the performance and attitude of the players. We played some really good soccer. I feel Belhaven and us were a good credit to the NAIA. It was 2 good teams going at each other. We have to learn from the weekend and realize that when we give away the ball away in bad areas we will get punished. End of the day the big picture for us is preparing for RRAC play and over the tough 6 non-conference games I feel we performed well. We have gone head to head and been right there with all the best teams in the country"
Miliani, Cruz, and Victor France led the Blazers in shot attempts with three apiece and as a team Belhaven held a 16-13 edge in total shots. Eight of Belhaven's shots were of the on goal variety. Diegues ended the match with six shots for UTB/TSC
Blundell earned his seventh win of the season logging all 90 minutes in net for Belhaven. Perez took the loss in goal for UTB/TSC allowing three goals while making four saves.
UTB/TSC will play again at 7:00 p.m on Thursday, September 20th at St. Thomas University in Houston, Texas.