(Story courtesy of Trinity University Athletics)
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Trinity's men's soccer team opened up the NCAA Playoffs with a 3-1 victory over 23rd-ranked University of Texas-Dallas on Saturday.
The Tigers opened the game with a jolt, as Philip Duenez tapped Wesley Mitchell's cross into the net for a 1-0 lead after just 57 seconds. Duenez is now second on the team with 16 points after scoring his seventh of the season to give the Tigers an early lead.
After that opening shot for Trinity, the two teams were evenly-matched with four shots each in the first half of play. UT-Dallas also had the only corner kick of the first 45 minutes, as well as the edge in shots on goal.
Tiger goalkeeper Blake Lieberman was called on to make three saves in that first half, keeping the Comets off the board and giving Trinity the slim 1-0 lead at the half.
Just shy of the 60:00 mark of the game, Josh Davis made it a 2-0 lead with Trinity's first shot of the second half. The goal was set up by a Tiger corner kick, which UT-Dallas failed to clear out of the 18-yard box. Fraser Burns centered the ball back in front of the goal, and Davis was there for the redirection.
In the 82nd minute, UT-Dallas tried to play the ball out of danger and back to its keeper, but Andrea Codispoti had other plans. He stepped in front of the pass back, dribbled around the keeper, and slid the ball into the empty net for a 3-0 Trinity lead. Codispoti now has nine goals on the season and leads the team in both goals and total points (21).
The Comets did break up the shutout in the final minutes, scoring with 5:05 to play to make it a 3-1 game. Lieberman had one final save a few seconds later, and Trinity held on for the victory.
Trinity improved to 12-6-2 with the win, while UT-Dallas dropped to 17-4-2 after its second loss of the year to the Tigers. Trinity also won 2-1 in overtime in the season opener back in late August.
Lieberman finished with five saves for the second straight game and he now has made 36 saves this season for the Tigers.
Trinity will host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CA) Colleges in the NCAA Second Round Playoff at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.