ST. LOUIS, Mo.— A late first-half goal from Andres Castro proved to be enough for the Fontbonne University men's soccer team to come away with the 1-0 win against Principia on Tuesday night.
"I think you first have to credit Principia," said head coach Donnie Alberty. "That is a very good side, well coached, many good players, very physical and made us battle for everything tonight. Across the back line, we were solid. We had Matt Hennessy and Matt Eaton step in and play very well. Max Kirkpatrick and Tyler Scales are getting better every match and are very difficult to play against. Then, our midfield did a good job winning head balls and tackles."
Alberty continued, "But, the key point of the match has to be Drew Blair coming in cold after Eric Volk went out with the injury and just commanding the box. He played with a lot of confidence tonight and was huge when we needed him to be. All in all, just a solid team effort by us, which is what it takes to win these types of matches."
The Griffins (5-6; 2-0 SLIAC), recorded 11 shots and were led by Castro's second goal on the season. In net, Blair made three saves in just over 69:02 minutes of action.
Principia (3-3; 1-1 SLIAC), meanwhile, outshot the Griffins 13-11 and had nine corner kicks compared to Fontbonne's one. David McLeod-Warrick took the tough defeat as he made four saves.
It was a defensive battle throughout the half with each team having its fair amount of chances. The Panthers best scoring chance came at 20:51 when leading scorer Kaleb Keller was on a break, but Eric Volk came out for the save.
However, Volk was injured on the play and Blair stepped in. Seven minutes later, Blake Smugala sent a bending shot to the far post, though McLeod-Warrick made the diving save.
Then, with 20.0 seconds left, Eaton passed the ball back for Marc Roellig and he sent a perfect ball to Castro. He was able to stay on-side and beat McLeod-Warrick to give Fontbonne a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Principia's urgency amped up as they had eight corner-kicks. The Griffins back line and Blair stood tall throughout the offensive pressure.
At the 83:51 mark, the Panthers final chance came off a corner from Keller. He placed the ball perfectly onto the head of Carson Hussey and he headed it towards the near post, but Blair was in the right spot to make the save, securing the one-goal win for Fontbonne.
The Griffins will have another tough match on Saturday night when Greenville pays a visit. Kick-off is set for 8 p.m.
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