Oct. 12, 2013
CINCINNATI (SMU) - Sophomore Leobardo Vazquez picked up his first career hat trick to lead the SMU men's soccer team to a 3-1 win at American Athletic Conference opponent Cincinnati on Saturday evening. The win improved the Mustangs to 2-1-1 in league play and 3-8-1 overall, while the Bearcats fell to 0-5 in conference action and 3-9-1 overall.
"We went down early, which is a difficult situation to be in on the road," Head Coach Tim McClements said. "Our guys responded well and played really good soccer and scored goals. They had a really good second half, and it's a great night for Leobardo with the hat trick."
Vazquez picked up goals in the 58th, 59th, and 63rd minutes to complete a come-from-behind victory for the Mustangs. Freshman Deshawon Nembhard was credited with the assist on the first goal, junior Damian Rosales on the second and sophomore Eddie Puskarich on the third.
Despite an 8-3 advantage in shots in the first half, Cincinnati picked up a goal in the 20th minute when John Manga was able to beat SMU keeper Jaime Ibarra far post from just outside the six-yard box on the right side.
"It's tough to go into halftime down a goal when you haven't scored a lot of goals this season," McClements added. "It would have been easy for them to get their heads down, but they didn't. We came out and continued to do what we did in the first half and continued to push and generate opportunities. The first one fell and we could have taken our foot off the gas, but we kept pushing and I'm really proud."
SMU came out in the second half with an even larger offensive presence and started the scoring early. Following a corner kick, Nembhard found himself with the ball deep in the left corner of the field and sent it across the six-yard box. The ball found its way through a pair of Bearcat defenders and onto the foot of Vazquez for the equalizer.
Just under two minutes later freshman Marco Carrizales picked off a ball in the Mustangs' half and found Rosales in the middle of the field. Rosales then found a sprinting Vazquez, who outran his defender, and played it past the Cincinnati keeper.
The final tally came from Puskarich off a Mustang corner. It was one of four corners for SMU in the match.
SMU had a 19-5 advantage in shots in the match, with the 9-2 edge in shots on goal.
Ibarra was only forced to make one save in the match.
The Mustangs are back in action on Saturday, Oct. 19 when they host American opponent UCF at Westcott Field. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. CT, and live stats and video are available via links on SMUMustangs.com.
"We've got to take it one game at a time," McClements said. "The margin for winning and losing is thin in this conference and we found a way to win this week. I'm proud of the way the players handled themselves and we have to continue to do what we do and hopefully the wins will continue to come."