RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Luiz Filho recorded his first career hat trick, while Orlando Zapata had a goal and an assist and Patricio Arce handed out two assists of his own to lead the University of Rio Grande in a 6-0 win over Bluefield (Va.) College, Wednesday night, in Mid-South Conference men’s soccer action at Evan E. Davis Field.
Rio Grande, which climbed to No. 3 in the latest NAIA coaches’ poll released late Tuesday, improved to 6-1-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the MSC with the victory.
The RedStorm exploded for three goals in a span of just 2:47 late in the first half to snap a scoreless tie and kickstart the victory.
“I thought we played reasonably well, it just took us a while to score,” said Rio Grande head coach Scott Morrissey. “We had a tough time for a while converting on the final ball into the box. Our tempo was good to start with, we just need to do a better job of finishing. Our quality of service in the final one-third of the field has to improve.”
Filho, a sophomore from Sao Paulo, Brazil, started the scoring barrage when he pushed a penalty kick past Bluefield net-minder Jefferson Watson at the 37:30 mark of the opening half.
Filho scored again just 26 seconds later following a nifty assist from freshman Patricio Arce (Santiago, Chile) to make it 2-0 and Arce added another assist on freshman Pau Rodriguez’s goal with 4:47 remaining in the half to extend the RedStorm lead.
“Once we finally did score - I think out first two came within 25 or 30 seconds of each other - it took the wind out of their sails and took the pressure off us,” Morrissey said. “Once we got settled down, the guys had fun tonight and we were able to rest a couple of players. Some of the guys who got an opportunity tonight made the most of it. All around, it was a good win.”
Rio Grande played without the services of senior midfielder Maxi Viera (Montevideo, Uruguay) and freshman forward William Paulino (Sao Paulo, Brazil), while freshman defender Heitor de Melo (Sao Paulo, Brazil) also missed his first game after suffering a season-ending knee injury in last Saturday’s tie with MSC rival Lindsey Wilson.
Filho completed his hat trick just over two minutes into the second half thanks to an assist from Zapata (Medellin, Colombia) and the lead grew to 5-0 when Zapata scored via a feed from freshman Igor Souza DeFreitas (Sao Paulo, Brazil) at 67:39.
Sophomore Edward Mussi (Saline, MI) closed out the scoring with an unassisted marker in the 86th minute.
Rio Grande finished with a commanding 24-3 edge in shots, including a 10-2 cushion in shots on goal. The RedStorm also held a 9-1 edge in corner kicks.
Junior goal keeper Jon Dodson (Tiffin, OH) had two saves en route to the shutout victory.
Watson had three saves in a route-going performance in net for Bluefield, which slipped to 4-5 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Rio Grande returns to action in a non-conference tilt against Point Park (Pa.) University on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Evan E. Davis Field.