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Radford University’s Men’s Soccer hosted Campbell University Saturday night, Sept. 22, to kick off the Big South opener for both teams.
Junior midfielder Bernardo Ulmo, who had scored three goals in all three of his previous games, led the way for the Highs, 3-2-2, scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over a strong Campbell University team, 4-2-1.
Both goalkeepers were put to the test in the first half, as senior Ryan Taylor and the Camels’ Ethan Hall were forced to make outstanding saves. Taylor made an excellent leaping save in the 36th minute on a Camels’ midfielder Justin Franz shot – CU’s only shot on goal in the first half.
The Highs came out of the gate firing. In just the second minute, junior midfielder Joe Mayer launched a shot that was blocked by the diving efforts of Hall.
Hall continued on to stop four more shots in the first half, including another shot by Mayer in the 11th minute, a diving block on a shot by freshman midfielder Jannik Eckenrode in the 44th minute, and a save on the header from freshman defender Jamie Summers on the ensuing corner kick.
However, the Highs offensive entourage proved to be too much for Hall to handle in the second half. Shots were even 8-8 in the first half, but the Highs outshot Campbell 6-0 to begin the second, as CU’s first shot of the half was their goal.
After narrowly missing the post in the 52nd minute, Ulmo had another chance in the 56th minute off of a feed from junior midfielder Chel Ho Park Kim.
Ulmo brought the ball up the left hand side, passed to Park Kim in the middle of the box who would tap the ball back to Ulmo on the left side of the box. This time, Ulmo’s shot found the back of the net, and the Highs jumped to a 1-0 lead over the Camels.
Just seven minutes later, the Highs had numbers again in the Camels side of the field. Sophomore defender Michael Hutcheon pushed the ball into the right side of the box, where Mayer received the ball but ended up being tripped by Camels defender Travis Golden, resulting in a penalty against CU.
Ulmo took the penalty kick, but had it blocked by Hall. However, Ulmo came in immediately and scored off the rebound, pushing the score to 2-0.
On the offensive success of the Highs in the second half, Ulmo cited the stamina of the team that led to the goals.
“I knew the game would open up in the second half with the guys getting tired,” Ulmo said. “We were working hard to finish the balls on target, and I was really lucky to put the balls on net.”
Ten minutes after the second goal, the Camels capitalized on a long pass from midfielder Mitchell Cardenas. The pass found forward Bryce Miller, and despite a crowd of Radford defensemen around him, he was able to get just enough on the ball to squeeze the shot through the defenders and beat Taylor at goal.
However, that would be the only shot on goal the Camels had in the second half, as the Highs locked down on CU’s offense and secured a 2-1 victory.
Head coach Marc Reeves praised the all-around effort on the night.
“We were trying to ensure that we were solid defensively,” Reeves stated. “In the first half we created some good chances but didn’t score, but in the second half we were able to put a couple of those in.”
Overall in the game, RU outshot Campbell 15-13 and had more shots on target with a 9-2 mark.
The Highs will continue their three game road stretch as they finish off playing their second Big South Conference match at Gardner-Webb University on Sept. 29, and Longwood University on Oct. 3.