Top-ranked RedStorm survive scare from SSU
by Randy Payton
Special to OVP
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – Rafael Maccauro’s goal off of a direct kick with 21 seconds remaining in the second overtime period lifted top-ranked Rio Grande to a 1-0 win over rival Shawnee State University, Tuesday afternoon, in Mid-South Conference men’s soccer action at Shawnee Turf.
Maccauro’s game-winner in the match’s closing moments allowed the RedStorm to extend their winning streak to 10 straight.
“We were very fortunate to win. We really didn’t deserve to,” said Rio Grande head coach Scott Morrissey. “I think we played about as poorly as we could and it wasn’t just one or two key guys – it was pretty much everybody. It’s hard to explain, especially after the way we played against Lindsey Wilson.”
Tuesday’s matchup with the Bears was Rio’s first outing since a 3-2 overtime victory at home against then-No. 1 and top-ranked Lindsey Wilson on September 29.
Maccauro was fouled just outside of the box by Shawnee’s Tanner Hopwood with just under a minute to play. He then snuck his golden goal through the wall of Bear defenders on the ensuing direct kick, allowing the RedStorm to avoid a scoreless tie.
Rio Grande managed the win despite playing the final 58:42 of the match without the services of senior goal keeper Jack Marchant, who was involved in an altercation with Shawnee’s Nick Dowdell which resulted in both players being red-carded.
Sophomore net-minder Jon Dodson recorded four stops the rest of the way en route to the win, but the RedStorm also got a huge defensive stop by sophomore midfielder Cesar Lopez late in regulation to preserve the scoreless tie.
Lopez prevented a shot by Shawnee’s Jacob Hackworth from finding its way into the net, retreating across the box and heading the ball away from the goal with just under 15 minutes remaining.
“I don’t where he came from, but Cesar was there all of a sudden and got it out of there,” Morrissey said. “Jon had drifted too far out and it was past him. It was a great play on Cesar’s part.”
Rio Grande enjoyed a whopping 35-10 edge in shots, including 14-6 in shots on goal.
Thomas Carbonari went the distance in net and recorded 13 saves for the Bears (2-10, 2-3).
The two teams were also whistled for 29 combined fouls – 13 on the RedStorm and 16 against Shawnee.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday night, hosting the University of Pikeville in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Evan E. Davis Field. The game will follow the women’s contest between the two schools, which gets underway at 5 p.m.
The annual “Rockets Over Rio” fireworks celebration will commence shortly after the conclusion of the men’s game.
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