Dixie State University men’s soccer took the field against the Real Monarchs in front of nearly 1,000 fans Saturday night.
DSU played an impressive game, but the Monarchs proved to be too skilled over 90 minutes, and ultimately defeated DSU 3-2.
DSU was able to surprise the Monarchs in the first two minutes of the match with a header by senior defender Jorge Echavarria. Sophomore defender Bryan Baugh, a criminal justice major from Henderson, Nevada, assisted the goal with a throw-in from 20 yards out.
“We work a lot on set pieces in practice,” Baugh said “I just throw it into the mix and let my teammates do all the work. Echavarria had a great header and put it in, so all the credit goes to him.”
The Red Storm didn’t stay ahead for long. The Monarchs only took 15 minutes to score the next two goals of the half.
The first Monarch goal came from a long throw-in almost identical to DSU’s first goal. Forward Emery Welshman scored the Monarchs second goal thanks to an assist by other forward Eti Tavares.
The Real Monarchs came out in the second half and dominated possession of the ball but struggled to score against DSU’s gritty defense.
“Our defense is probably the core of the team right now,” Baugh said. “We have a solid group, and we work hard in practice. The Coaches’ main principle is defense first to win the ball back, and it has helped us so far.”
The Storm kept the lead until a foul was called outside the penalty box. The Monarchs would capitalize on a free kick to put them up 3-1.
“It’s been frustrating because that’s the second time we’ve given up a free kick that resulted in a goal in that area of the field,” head coach Josh Pittman said. “We defended well but that’s the breaks of the game.”
Dixie State played until the last whistle, and it paid off when sophomore defender Zac McCulloch got a shot off that found the back of the net with only 13.1 seconds left in the match to make the final score 2-3.
“We’re cautiously optimistic right now,” Pittman said “I like where we’re at, but we have to be better at certain things. If we can get there, we are going to be competitive in the conference.”
The Storm will take on Azusa Pacific University Thursday at Hansen Stadium to kick off Pacific West Conference play.