Despite defending well for much of the match, UIW couldn’t hold on as three goals in the final 20 minutes saw SMU take the match away from the cardinals. The Mustangs, former NCAA Champions, managed a win through a Brenden Lee hat-trick in those final 20 minutes as SMU went past UIW at Westcott Field on Monday night.
The first goal for the Mustangs was unfortunate for the Cardinals after UIW keeper Joshua Blair made a strong save. That save was on Emil Cuello’s shot, but Lee acted quickly, running on it and scoring with a tap-in to open the scoring in the 70th minute.
After that opened the scoring Lee the Cardinals struggled to keep the defense up and in the 78th minute Lee was able to take advantage of a UIW defensive mistake. A loose ball allowed Lee to pounce and steal possession, just outside the box, allowing him to run on goal and easily send it past the keeper to double the SMU lead.
It took less than one minute for Lee to go from a Brace to a hattrick as Garrett McLaughlin was able to spot Lee in space. Lee worked his way just inside the box, and hit a powerful strike across the face of goal and in to the back of the net to seal the 3-0 result.
The Cardinals defended well for much of the match, despite being second best for a long period, but they just couldn’t hold off. If not for some poor shooting the lead could have been more as the Mustangs had a very narrow lead on shots on goal 5-4, despite leading total shots convincingly 14-6.
The first half was very much a defensive player as the two sides were looking to try and control the ball and look for opportunities slowly. Joshua Blair was strong in the Cardinals goal as he worked hard to keep SMU at bay in that first half.
It was clearly that SMU were the better side throughout the first half but they could not break down the Cardinals defense. They had three shots in the first half and they all came early before the Cardinals took charge of the latter stages of the half, despite that the Cardinals still couldn’t manage a shot in the first half which ended scoreless.
The Cardinals came out from the break and continued to attack looking for a goal but Michael Nelson was on top of his game in the SMU goal. Thomas Bibby was the main outlet for the Cardinals but his efforts could not beat a strong effort from Nelson, which would prove costly as SMU got back in to the match.