Gold Rush defeat NCAA Division II Spring Hill 3-2 in program’s first regular-season victory

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(Photo: Chuck Cook)

Box Score

MOBILE, Ala. — Got it done anyway.

Xavier University of Louisiana men’s soccer didn’t score the first goal, didn’t score the final goal, didn’t score in the second half and — for the second consecutive time — didn’t finish with 11 players on the field. But the Gold Rush, sparked by three first-half goals, defeated Spring Hill 3-2 Wednesday for XULA’s first-ever regular-season victory in this sport.

Next for the Gold Rush (1-1) will be the Red River Athletic Conference opener: 3 p.m. CDT Sept. 14 against Southwest (N.M.) at Lafreniere Park in suburban Metairie, La. That will follow a 1 p.m. women’s game between XULA and USW. Admission is free to all XULA soccer home games.

Spring Hill’s Quinn Carper opened the scoring in the 11th minute, but XULA took the lead for good with two goals in the next seven minutes — the first by Leonardo Menzen, the second a penalty kick by Gustavo Oliveira — then made it 3-1 on a Menzen goal in the 35th minute. Nicolas Kuwae assisted on the first XULA goal, and Caio Tascheto assisted on the third.

The Badgers (1-2) scored the only second-half goal — it was Carper again in the 71st minute — but the Gold Rush dug in like miners to preserve the milestone triumph. It was 11-on-10 for the final 28:41 after XULA’s Ignacio Solorza picked up a red card.

XULA had advantages of 12-10 in shots and 6-3 in shots on goal. XULA freshman goalkeeper Francisco Pinochet, in his regular-season debut, played all 90 minutes had one save. Teammate Breno Zanolla was named Red River Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week Monday after his stellar work in goal on the road at then-NAIA No. 9 William Carey, but it was Pinochet’s turn.

Pinochet and teammates successfully defended a left-corner throw-in with 3:15 remaining, cleared a header that was wide of the goal with 1:20 remaining, and XULA finally ran out the clock after the Badgers missed another header with 36 seconds remaining.

Also playing 90 minutes for the Gold Rush were Tascheto and Fabricio Reis. The other XULA starters were Menzen, Oliveira, Solorza, Juan BrazCaleb EvansVictor FerrazJulio Gruba and Sebastian Pinto. At kickoff — 3:37 p.m. CDT — it was partly cloudy, 92 degrees, heat index 98, humidity 49 percent, south wind at 9 mph with gusts to 21. The game ended at 5:46 p.m.

Spring Hill is an NCAA Division II member. XULA is a longtime NAIA member. This is XULA’s first season of varsity soccer.

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