Point Park upsets No. 7 Rio Grande, 2-1, in showdown of KIAC favorites
Sept. 20, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Point Park upended Rio Grande on Saturday at Highmark Stadium. Alain Smit wins a ball as Lucas Godinho looks on.
PITTSBURGH -- Point Park University men's soccer earned one of the biggest wins in the history of the program with Saturday's 2-1 victory over NAIA No. 7 Rio Grande (Ohio) in a showdown of KIAC favorites at Highmark Stadium.
Point Park (5-2-0, 1-0-0 KIAC) broke out to a 2-0 lead on lead on second-half goals by Lucas Godinho (65th minute) and Max Flick (82nd minute). Rio Grande (5-1-2, 0-1-0 KIAC) made a big final push and got a goal from Sam Riley in the 87th minute, but it was not enough to catch the Pioneers.
It was the first-ever KIAC meeting between the schools as perennial NAIA contender Rio Grande is a new member to the conference this year. Point Park, which has two KIAC titles since joining the league two years ago, was picked second in the KIAC preseason coaches' poll, one spot behind Rio Grande.
Saturday's game was also a rematch of last year's NAIA National Championship Opening Round game won by Rio Grande, 2-1 at home. Point Park has made the NAIA national tournament the last two years but has never won an NAIA tourney game.
The RedStorm controlled possession and led in shots, 21-9, but it was the Pioneers who pushed the ball across the goal line enough to win. Rio Grande entered the game having given up only two goals in its first seven games -- one each to NAIA No. 4 Ashford (Iowa) and receiving-votes team Northwestern Ohio.
But Point Park got two on the board in the 90 minutes Saturday to break away from a scoreless tie at the half. The first tally came when Cristian Mika came down the right side and put a cross into the 6-yard line. There Marius Seager won the ball along the turf and got it out to Godinho, who beat the keeper near the left post.
The initial goal put Rio Grande on the attack even more than it was before. The Point Park defense, which was stout all day long, held firm led by center backs Paul Carr and Josh Williams playing tough in front of keeper Zak Borzovoy.
Point Park eventually got a counter attack in its favor, and on a long ball played forward, Rejep Mukhammadov was taken down at the 19-yard line. On the subsequent free kick, Flick got an excellently placed shot through the wall and beyond the out-stretched arm of Rio keeper Jon Dodson low and on the right post.
Down 2-0, Rio eventually got Riley's goal to make things interesting the final three minutes. But Point Park successfully defended like it had all game long to preserve the win.
Rio Grande had nine of its 21 shots on goal, and Borzovoy came up with eight saves. Point Park had five of its nine shots on target with Dodson making three stops.
The big win came at the end of the Pioneers playing four games in an eight-day span. Point Park came out of that stretch at 5-2-0 overall and 1-0-0 KIAC. In this its third year in the KIAC, Point Park has still never lost to a KIAC game and is 12-0-0 versus KIAC competition since 2012.
Point Park's next game is not for another two weeks. The Pioneers host KIAC opponent Cincinnati Christian on Oct. 4 at 12:30 p.m.
Check the Pioneers' Facebook page at a later time for a photo album from the win over Rio Grande.