SAN ANTONIO — Freshman forward Almir Batista scored both goals as Montclair State stunned unbeaten Trinity (Texas) 2-1 in the NCAA Division III tournament on Saturday.
The Red Hawks (19-2-1), who advanced to last year’s national semifinals, are now just one win away from a return trip and will face Ohio Northern on Sunday. It is the third time that Montclair State will advance to the NCAA final having gone 1-1 in the two previous trips, losing in 2007 at Messiah while topping Stevens 1-0 last year.
The winner of the Montclair State versus Ohio Northern contest will get a chance to return to San Antonio for the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship.
Montclair State opened the scoring in the fourth minute, taking the 1-0 advantage as Batista knocked in a pass from Trey Leggett three minutes into the contest. MSU maintained the lead into the halftime break as Trinity goalkeeper Matt Cardone recorded five of his seven saves in the first period.
In the 60th minute, Montclair State made it a two-goal lead on the second goal of the night from Batista. Minutes later, Montclair State received a red card, and the Red Hawks were forced to play with just 10 men the rest of the game.
Despite playing with a man advantage, Trinity was still unable to get its offense going until the final minutes. Brian Hines scored on an assist by Yuri Ribeiro in the 88th minute of play to make it a 2-1 game. Trinity had three more shots with under two minutes to play, including one shot on goal in the 89th minute, but Montclair State was able to earn the win.
Anthony Rogic had three saves for Montclair State.