GEORGETOWN, Texas- Southwestern men's soccer dropped their first game of the season to the University of Texas Tyler Patriots on Saturday afternoon, 2-1, despite a well-played match with strong, well-organized attacks. The Pirates move to 1-1 on the season while UTT opens the season 1-0.
UT Tyler had the first good look at goal five minutes into the half, getting deep in Pirate territory. Jesus Morteo's ball trickled perilously across the goal in the 6-yard box, but no Patriot was able to get a foot on it to misdirect into the goal. Keeper Nick Pierce cleared out the next threat, picking a corner kick out of the air and out of harm's way.
Pierce continued to be a wall in goal through the first half as the Patriots were able to get good looks at the goal. Tim Eamma (pictured) had Southwestern' first great chance to score with the ball in the middle of the field at the 18 and his shot sailed just over the crossbar.
Matt Nickell drew first blood for the Pirates with a devastating crossover on UTT's defense that allowed him an open look at goal 24 yards out. He drilled the ball to the left of the diving keeper to put SU up 1-0.
UT Tyler evened the count with 19 minutes to play when Alonso Rivera received a pass from Victor Almendariz in front of the goal. Rivera's shot curved to the left, off the post and into the right side netting to even the score 1-1.
SU had a great opportunity to take the lead just before the half when Garhett Bonneaux dribbled down towards the goal and served a low crossing ball to Daniel Poole streaking to the middle of the goal. Poole wasn't able to get a solid touch on the ball, however, before UTT's keeper, Sergio Gardea, got a hand on it and punched it out of the box and the score remained 1-1 heading into the half.
As the second half got underway each team wasn't able to capitalize on a free kick deep in opponent's territory. UT Tyler was awarded another free kick dead center of the goal 25 yards out and Pierce made a brilliant save, punching the ball over the crossbar, on Justin NeSmith's shot to keep the game tied.
Eamma won a 50/50 ball which spawned a Pirate attack ten minutes later. Eamma fed Nickell on the breakway, forcing Gardea out of goal to attempt to clear the ball outside of the box. His clear landed at Eamma's feet and his lofting shot fell just over the crossbar into the top netting to end the threat.
The Patriots took the lead in the 65th minute when Chris Powell dribbled and fought his way behind the Pirate defense, tapping the ball to Almendariz who one touched it into the left of the goal to give UTT a 2-1 lead.
Southwestern received another great look after a yellow card was handed out to the Patriots. A lofting free kick entered the box and Dishon Isaac got a good touch on it, but the ball rolled to the right and was easily gathered by Gardea.
Another free kick for Southwestern in the 88th minute poised itself as the equalizer. Davis took the free kick from 40 yards out, but no Pirate was able to misdirect the lofting ball and it landed in Gardea's arms keeping the score 2-1 as the game wound to a close.
Southwestern fell in the shot count 21-7 and took seven fewer corner kicks in the loss. Pierce racked up seven saves on the afternoon.
SU returns to the pitch on Monday, September 5th for a game against new Division III opponent Greenville hosted by Trinity University in San Antonio. Game time is set for 2pm.