Men’s soccer advances in NCAA Tournament

Photo credit: Ryan Miller

The SMU men’s soccer team beat Utah Valley 2-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night at Westcott Field.

The game was evenly paced, with both sides trading shots. SMU tallied 12 and Utah Valley had 11.

After a pair of well-defended Utah Valley corner kicks early in the half, the Mustangs found their way to an offensive position. SMU struck midway through the first half, as Mauro Cichero’s blocked shot rebounded to midfielder Brenden Lee. Lee put it into the back of the net, scoring his sixth goal of the season and giving the Mustang a 1-0 lead.

Following the goal, the rest of the first half was highlighted by a handful of shots from each team and a save from Utah Valley goalkeeper Derek Wilcox.

Despite several shots on goal by the Mustangs in the second half, including three corner kicks and a header, they failed to capitalize on the ample opportunities until the 61st minute. Senior Idi Camara scored his sixth goal of the season from six yards out on assists from Lee and Stanton Garcia, making the comeback all the more difficult.

SMU goalkeeper Michael Nelson had three saves in the shutout victory. SMU’s next match will be against the 13th-seeded Denver Pioneers Nov. 22 at CIBER Field in Colorado. The Pioneers finished the season 15-0-3 to earn a first round bye.

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