AUSTIN, TX (KAUZ) - A goal by senior midfielder Gabriel Cavalcante in the eighth minute carried No. 19 Midwestern State to a 1-0 shutout win over No. 3 St. Edward's on the road Thursday afternoon as the Mustangs relied on the early score while playing a man down for more than 30 minutes to remain in first place in the Heartland Conference.
"It was a gut-wrenching performance by the defense," said head coach Doug Elder. "They could have easily given in but they gave it their all out there and grinded it out. It was a total team effort and I'm proud of the guys."
In the early stages of the game, St. Edward's (12-2-1, 8-2-1 HC) attempted two of its six shots of the game in the first five minutes of action before Cavalcante recorded the eventual game-winning goal.
A cross by senior forward Christian Okeke from the right side of the pitch found Cavalcante inside the box before he fired into the right side of the net for a 1-0 MSU lead just 7:07 into the game. Both teams managed just one shot apiece the remainder of the first period.
Midwestern State (12-2-1, 10-1-0 HC) was limited to just one shot on the offensive end in the second half while being forced to play a man down as a red card was issued to Cavalcante at the 59:29 mark. The Mustangs defense was resilient down the stretch in posting their fourth-straight shutout and sixth in the last seven games as the Hilltoppers were held to just three shot attempts with their first shot on goal coming at the 88:19 mark.
With the win, Midwestern State takes a five-point lead over the Hilltoppers in the Heartland Conference race with three regular season games remaining.
Midwestern State takes on Dallas Baptist in its final road game of the regular season Saturday at 7 p.m. at Patriot Soccer Field in Dallas.
No. 4 Midwestern State looks to improve to 7-0 for the second straight year Saturday night against West Texas A&M at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium in Canyon. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
In the longest running series in MSU football history, Midwestern State and West Texas A&M square off for the 30th time on the gridiron Saturday night. West Texas A&M leads the series, which dates back to the 1947 season, by a 16-13 margin. The programs have split the 14 meetings during the Bill Maskill era (since 2002), but MSU has claimed victories in four of the last seven contests.
West Texas A&M rebounded from a two-game skid to roll Oklahoma Panhandle State 42-14 last week in Goodwell, improving to 4-3 on the season and 3-2 in Lone Star Conference play.
WTAMU Sophomore quarterback Ben Arbuckle earned Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors in his first collegiate start, completing 30-of-42 passes for 292 yards and six touchdowns. Arbuckle's older brother, Randall, played long snapper for the Mustangs from 2010-2013, earning All America honors twice.