MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Not only was it a season-ending loss, it was the kind of loss that the University of Rio Grande men’s soccer team rarely sees.
Fourth-seeded Ashford (Iowa) found the net on each of its five shots on goal and routed the No. 5 seed RedStorm, 5-1, in the quarterfinal round of the NAIA National Tournament, Wednesday afternoon, at the Emory-Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex.
The Saints improved to 15-5-1 with the victory and advanced to Friday’s semifinal round to face 16th-seeded Martin Methodist, which ousted No. 8 seed Belhaven (Miss.) on Wednesday after erasing top-seeded Grand View (Iowa) on Monday.
Rio Grande finished 16-3-3 with the loss.
The five goals were the most allowed by a Rio team since a 5-2 loss to Fresno Pacific on November 16, 2007 in the second round of the national tournament in Olathe, Kan.
The RedStorm trailed 2-1 at the intermission, but Ashford put the game away with three goals in the second period.
Head coach Scott Morrissey’s squad outshot the Saints, 20-10, including 9-5 in shots on goal, but found the net just once.
“Even though we were down by a goal at the half, I still felt pretty good about our situation,” Morrissey said. “We were creating some chances, we just weren’t capitalizing. But when we got a man down, we started chasing the game. We just never could get into it from that point on.”
Ashford turned a pair of passing mistakes by the RedStorm into each of its two first half goals.
Daniel Dreier scored just over 13 minutes into the match to give the Saints a 1-0 lead before Rio freshman Paul Rodriguez (Barcelona, Spain) scored off an assist by fellow freshman William Paulino (Sao Paulo, Brazil) to knot the score at 1-1 at the 17:30 mark of the first half.
Ashford took the lead for good just over nine minutes later when Tim Krautheim intercepted an errant Rio pass and fed Lucas Almeida for a goal from six yards out to make it 2-1 with 20:11 remaining before halftime.
“The first two goals that they scored were inexcusable on our part,” said Morrissey. “We made some mistakes that a team as talented as ours is should’ve never made.”
Nine minutes after the go-ahead score, Rio Grande also lost the services of sophomore forward Luiz Filho (Sao Paulo, Brazil) - the nation’s leading goal-scorer - when he was ejected after being red-carded for a head butt of an Ashford defender.
The Saints made full use of the one-man advantage, getting a goal by Javier Ramirez off an assist by Dreier less than three minutes into the second stanza to extend their lead to 3-1.
Dreier scored again at 61:43 thanks to a feed from Krautheim and assisted on a goal by Johannes Langhans just under three minutes later to close out the scoring.
Chris Higgins was credited with seven saves in goal for Ashford, while junior net-minder Jon Dodson (Tiffin, OH) failed to record a save in a losing cause for the RedStorm.
Wednesday’s loss marked the final game in a Rio uniform for seniors Maxi Viera (Montevideo, Uruguay), Orlando Zapata (Medellin, Colombia), Craig Davies (Wolverhampton, England), Nikoy Wallace (Montego Bay, Jamaica) and Jordan Jenkins (Kingston, Ohio).