A first collegiate Hattrick from Dylan Kelly proved vital for University of Incarnate Word as they managed a vital win against Grand Canyon at Benson Stadium on Thursday night. The Cardinals got back on track with the 4-2 win against a determined GCU side.
It was a tight start to the match with Jonathan Camarena looking dangerous in the early going, but the GCU defense blocked the chances. Two corners gave both sides a chance, the first was Ricardo Tavarez forcing a Kieran O’Boyle save before Camarena sent in a corner for Noah Keats whose header was well saved.
The Cardinals were looking the more dangerous side after those early exchanges, but they were seeing their chances broken up by fouls. Camarena set-pieces were proving a dangerous source for UIW but Kendyl Day was doing well in goal to keep it scoreless at half-time.
After the break GCU came out determined and a foul gave Grand Canyon the golden opportunity. Alberto Sanchez Garcia stood over the set piece and sent his effort over the wall and dipped it down in to the top right corner.
Now a goal down, UIW were forced to respond and just after the hour mark they were back on level terms. Ben Conway sent a long ball over the top of the GCU defense which allowed Kelly to score at the far post.
With momentum, the Cardinals kept on attacking and in the 67th minute Kelly sealed his brace. This time it came from a long through from Trinidad Luna which fell to Dylan Kelly, leaving him with a simple tap-in.
It was now GCU who were chasing the game and they went on the attack before hitting their own equalizer in the 77th minute. Alex Halis shot went off the post, allowing Matthew King to run on to the ball and tap it home, setting up a thrilling finish.
UIW were forced to respond and they simply attacked like mad through the final 15 minutes as they were looking to go for the match. The Cardinals restored their lead in the 79th minute as Kelly completed his hat-trick thanks to a good ball from Ben Conway, leaving Kelly with a simple tap-in.
The very next play was also a goal as UIW were able to double their lead, to make it 4-2 with eight minutes to play. It was all O’Neal Moore as he ran past two defenders, allowing him the chance to bury it at the far post and seal the 4-2 win.