Second half heroics push Mustangs into NCAA Third Round

– A trio of Mustangs tallied second half goals to help top-seeded Midwestern State erase a 2-1 halftime deficit and avoid a second-straight NCAA second round defeat to Colorado Mesa with a 4-2 victory over the Mavericks in a Sunday afternoon postseason matchup at MSU Soccer Field.

Colorado Mesa led for nearly 30 minutes in the contest after sophomore midfielder Trentin Atkin and freshman midfielder Moshe Perez put the Mavericks ahead 2-1 in the 25th minute.

Less than eight minutes into the second period, junior midfielder Flavio Guzman netted the equalizer with a strike just outside the box off a feed from junior defender Antonio Hernandez.

Midwestern State went in front for good in the 66th minute as junior midfielder Leon Taylor received a through ball into the middle of the box from senior forward Albert Rodriguez before finding the net for a 3-2 MSU advantage.

With 15 minutes remaining, sophomore forward Laurence Chamberlain capped off the Midwestern State scoring with a shot to the far post from the right side of the box off a pass from junior midfielder Gabriel Cavalcante for a final 4-2.

"We tell the guys every game it's a 90-minute game," said head coach Doug Elder. "The emotions run high and low and shift in any sport. We just have to ride the wave of momentum and try to realize we have plenty of time to score. We had a whole 45 minutes to tie it and get us into overtime. I was proud of the guys, they really responded well. We held on to the lead and some guys really stepped it up today."

With the win, Midwestern State advances to the NCAA Third Round where they will face No. 2 seed Colorado Mines (17-0-3) in the South Central Region Championship Friday at 7 p.m. at MSU Soccer Field. The Mustangs will also host the West Region title match Friday at 5 p.m. between Cal Poly Pomona and California State-Dominguez Hills.

"I'm happy with the comeback and happy to be in the next round," Elder said. "I think they (Colorado Mines) will be looking for a little revenge. We've knocked them out the last two times in the playoffs. You're talking two undefeated teams here that are going head-to-head that have a lot of confidence and believe in their defense."

The winners of the two regional championship matches will move on to face each other in the NCAA quarterfinals, which will be played Sunday at 1 p.m. at MSU Soccer Field.

Midwestern State moves to 17-0-1 on the season, tying for the second-longest unbeaten streak in program history at 18 matches. With the loss, Colorado Mesa ended its season at 14-5-2.

Early in the first period, senior defender Ben Clarvis put the Mustangs ahead in the 16th minute, sending a shot from the left side of the box to the right corner of the net off a cross by senior midfielder Juan Farres.

Just over a minute later, the Mavericks tacked on the first of two goals with Atkin's strike before Perez added a score eight minutes later midway through the period.

Midwestern finished with a 23-7 shot advantage and 12-3 edge in shots on goal. After allowing two first half scores, the Mustangs defense held CMU to just two shots in the final 45 minutes of play.