Hounds held off in home finale

By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers

Eastern New Mexico University men’s soccer coach Carlos Elizondo hoped the Greyhounds could improve on the six wins they recorded in their inaugural season in 2004 — perhaps even reach the .500 mark.

Instead, they find themselves playing out the string after Sunday’s 3-1 Southwest Soccer Conference loss to St. Edward’s at the ENMU pitch.

The Hounds (3-11-1, 1-8 SSC) have been competitive in most of their matches this season, with six losses by a single goal.

Eastern, which has played 11 matches at home, will now complete its schedule with five on the road.

“We’re not playing poorly,” Elizondo said. “The shots (St. Edward’s) had were good shots, and they didn’t miss them. We had a couple of chances, and we didn’t get the shots off.
“It’s frustrating for everyone. I just hope people here have patience with us. We’re still trying to build this up.”

Junior defender Bradley Tolson scored his first two goals of the year for St. Ed’s, both from in front of the goal inside the box on well-executed plays by the Hilltoppers (4-10-1, 3-6).

The first one came late in the half when he punched in a long free kick by Noor Jehangir. Tolson made it 2-0 about 10 minutes into the second half on a cross from Robert Descant.

“The biggest thing was in the last few games we’ve had chances inside the 18-yard box, and we just haven’t finished those chances,” St. Ed’s coach Brian Young said. “Today, we did.”

Young said despite losing 4-0 at first-place West Texas A&M on Friday, the Hilltoppers came away upbeat.

“After that game, I felt (the players) were disappointed but encouraged,” he said. “I kind of felt we were ready for this game. We feel we can still grow as a program.”

Sophomore forward Giovanni Barletta added a penalty shot for St. Edward’s.

The Hounds scored in the 76th minute when sophomore midfielder Francisco Roman scored his first goal of the year.

Elizondo said the Hounds are nursing a variety of injuries which are either keeping people out or slowing them down. The other thing he pointed to against St. Ed’s was a lack of decisiveness on the offensive end.

“We just didn’t recognize when to pull the trigger (on shots) and when to pass the ball,” he said.