GOLDEN, Colo. – Incarnate Word grabbed a measure of revenge on Saturday afternoon in its 4-2 win at Colorado School of Mines in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The No. 13 Cardinals (14-3-1) lost to the No. 19 Orediggers (14-5-2) 3-2 in the second game of the season.
“It was pretty even after the first half with the score 2-2,” UIW head coach Vince Martinez said. “I thought we proved we were a little bit better of a team in the second half. We were able to capitalize on a few set pieces.”
The Cardinals and Orediggers had to contend with snow flurries throughout the game, but the weather did not stop both high-powered offenses from finding the goal. The Cardinals scored first inside of five minutes when Vincent Bailey sent a corner kick to Alex de la Garza just outside of the box and he lofted a shot past CSM’s goalkeeper Manville Strand at 4:50.
Mines did not wait long to even the score. A low cross from Zach Page-Belknap to Baski Baker was forwarded on to Tesho Akindele who scored on a shot from directly in front of the goal nine yards out at 12:10. It was his 22nd goal of the season and fourth against the Cardinals.
Ten minutes later, the Cardinals went back on top. Robin Nicholls tossed a long throw-in to the box that was headed home by Leon Taylor at 22:07 to make it 2-1. It was Taylor’s fourth goal of the season.
However, the Orediggers responded quickly for a second time. Akindele set up Page-Belknap with a low cross that he was able to convert from 15 yards out at 30:03.
The teams went into halftime tied at 2-2, but the second half would be a different story. “We made some adjustments at halftime and collectively we did a better job at slowing down some of their very talented offensive players,” said Martinez.
The score remained tied at 2-2 until midway through the second half. UIW junior defender Josh Ferona struck for the sixth time this year. Bailey sent in a quality corner kick that Ferona headed past the goalkeeper at 68:29 giving him a team-high five game-winning goals on the season.
The Cardinals put the game away less than four minutes later. Abraham Campos crossed a pass from the far left wing to de la Garza who pocketed his second goal of the game and seventh of the season at 72:11.
The Cardinals outshot the Orediggers 11-6 in the second half after being outshot 8-5 in the first half. UIW goalkeeper Jarred Kahan made two saves while his counterpart, Manville Strand, was forced to make eight saves in the contest.