BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (Oct. 27, 2012) -- For the first time in history, the Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) men's soccer team has earned the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) title after beating the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) Saturday evening by a score of 3-2.
The Saints, which along with the University's volleyball team, kicked off intercollegiate athletics in 2007, had made it to the finals in 2009, but lost to UTB 1-2. The Saints have won just one game against UTB in seven previous matchups. The two teams have developed a rivalry through the years because many of the Saints team members are from Brownsville or nearby throughout the Rio Grande Valley. On this year's squad of 33, 16 are from the area, including Head Coach Shane Hurley, who is a graduate of Harlingen High School.
It has been a challenging season for the Saints with injuries at the beginning of the season threatening the team from being successful. However, the team has persevered with outstanding performances from each member, led by captains junior Luis Flores and sophomore Marcelo Chapa.
The Saints fell behind at the 15th minute after UTB's Ricardo Diegues scored on an assist from Leonardo Medeiros. Fourteen minutes later, the Scorpions scored after Diegues and Medeiros partnered up again for the goal. Saints' Aaron Guerrero attempted two shots, but none went through the post and the half ended with the 2-0 UTB lead.
The second half was a completely different story with the Saints hitting the field on offense at the start. After shots and shots-on-goal misses by Robert Alexe, Elias Cortes, Jorge Cantu and AJ Gonzalez, Cantu was finally able to put one through to score the Saints' first goal.
At the 65th minute, Alexe scored the Saints' second goal to tie the game at 2-2. Saints' keeper Martin Hansson saved three shots on goal, while UTB keeper Ben Perez was kept busy with shots coming from all directions. With seconds left in the game, freshman Alex Gonzalez scored the game-winning goal to give the Saints the 3-2 win.
UTB outshot the Saints 20-11. Guerrero led the Saints in shooting with three, while Alexe and Cantu each shot two.
The Saints, along with second-place Texas Wesleyan University, will await the winners of the playoffs that take place on Nov. 3. The two teams will play on Nov. 9 in Fort Worth, Texas, on the campus of Texas Wesleyan University. The championship match will take place on Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
The NAIA Champions of Character program aims to instill five core values in NAIA athletes, coaches: respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership, and sportsmanship. Our Lady of the Lake University shares and supports these values and strives to promote the Champions of Character program by working with students, coaches through our Champions of Character educational program. For more information on the Champions of Character program, click here: www.championsofcharacter.org.
Luis A. Lárraga
Sports Information Assistant