Despite being a man up for more than half Sunday afternoon at the Dustdevil Soccer Field, Midwestern State had to battle for a 1-0 result over Texas A&M International.
"It didn't faze them," MSU coach Doug Elder said. "They played very hard and cut off our attack out wide. They played very hard with 10 men. They were ready to play."
TAMIU junior defender Jonathan Saldena earned booking in the 6th minute after scuffling with MSU junior forward Len Smith, who would go to the bench until late in the second half.
Saldena, however, remained on the field to draw an ejection in the 33rd minute giving the Mustangs a man advantage for the remaining 57 minutes of play.
"We looked a little lethargic and tired, but we played really good defense," Elder said "We cleared the ball and really got back."
Smith returned to the game for the final 15 minutes to provide the difference when he chipped in a cross from 6 yards out in the 80th minute.
"For the playing time he got, it wasn't bad at all (to get a goal)," Elder said. "Lenny has played really well of late."
Smith has tallied a goal in four straight games and produced in each of his five to lead the Mustangs with five goals and an assist.
Despite playing a man down, the Dustdevils produced an 11-8 shot edge, but MSU sophomore goalkeeper Nick Petolick made four saves to notch his third consecutive clean sheet.
"Nick did really well today. He made a few great saves today which really helped us today," Elder said. "We'll take the win. It wasn't our best game. The travel down here makes it kind of like jet lag."
Midwestern State continues its four-game road swing Saturday against No. 5 West Texas A&M in Canyon. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
Midwestern State sophomore Kyle Davidson advanced to the finals of the USTA/ITA South Central Regional on Sunday, but fell just short of the regional championship. MSU hosted the regional that concluded at the MSU Tennis Center.
After playing late Saturday night and coming back to start early on Sunday morning, Davidson battled three sets, but fell to Colorado Mesa's Jordan Lyden 5-7, 6-4, 2-6 in the regional championship match.
"He gave it all he had," said MSU Coach Scott Linn. "I was proud of the way he played this weekend."
Davidson earned his way into the final with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Cameron's Dennis Merden first thing Sunday morning.
Not only had Davidson played his way into the singles final, but he and partner Zack Santagate also played in the semifinals of the doubles on Sunday.
Davidson/Santagate lost to eventual regional champion Chris Breaux and Casjen Rico of McMurry 8-6.
The tournament concluded a tough Saturday and Sunday for all the players.
"We got the tournament underway about 4:30 on Saturday because of the weather," Linn stated. "So we saw folks play about 14 hours of tennis in a 24 hour period. That's a lot."
For the Mustangs men on Saturday, Davidson, Kacper Boborykin and Ramon Toyos advanced in singles play.
To reach the semifinals, Davidson beat Metro State's Nick Baker 7-5, 6-3, and then took out St. Edward's Adrien Garza 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinal.
Boborykin advanced to the quarterfinal with a 6-4, 6-4 win over St. Ed's Max Agoglia. However, Boborykin fell to CMU's Lyden in three 3-6, 6-1, 4-6.
Lyden ended MSU's Christopher Norrie's run in the round of 16 with a 6-1, 6-4 win on Saturday as well.
Toyos beat Segio Avella of Colorado State-Pueblo 6-2, 6-7, 6-2, but fell in the quarters to Cameron's Felipe Oyarzun.
In doubles on Saturday, Davidson/Santagate beat Cameron's Merdan/Oyarzun 8-3 to get to the semifinal.
The other two MSU teams fell in doubles quarterfinal play, with Tomas Grejtak and Toyos dropping an 8-6 decision to St. Ed's James Rogers and Agoglia, while the Mustangs Austin Crawford and Keegan Sullivan fell to Colorado Mesa's Blake Demond and Cody Freischlag 9-8, dropping the tiebreaker 8-6.
The MSU men resume fall season individual play next Friday and Saturday at the Texas Lutheran Invitational in Seguin.