Hounds blank Fort Hays State

By Larry Booker: FNM correspondent

It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but the Eastern New Mexico University men’s soccer team notched another win on Friday at the ENMU pitch.

Junior defender Michael Stewart provided the only goal with a header off a Julian Roberts corner kick midway through the second half, and the Greyhounds hung on for a 1-0 non-league victory over Fort Hays State.

“It could have been (by) a couple more I, but 1-0 is good for me,” ENMU coach Harold Munoz said as his team looks ahead to a noon showdown with No. 12 Incarnate Word at home on Sunday with the Lone Star Conference title on the line.

The teams battled through a scoreless first half as the defenses dominated. The Hounds (9-3-4) and the Hays, Kan.-based Tigers (9-4-2) mustered only five combined shots on goal.

“We’ve been struggling to get a clean sheet (shutout) all season,” senior defender Dreaux Plair said. “This is a confidence booster for our defense and, hopefully, it carries on to the game on Sunday.”

The second half was a different story as the Hounds peppered the Tigers with 17 shots, although only three were on goal. ENMU freshman Matt Malak collected three saves in the winning effort.

“It was a tough one,” Tigers coach Brett Parker said. “They came out with good size, good athletes, good technical players.”

ENMU, hoping to earn its first NCAA Division II postseason berth, has a tough finish with UIW (11-2-1, 2-1-1 LSC heading into a Friday night match at West Texas A&M) and at Midwestern State next Friday. The Mustangs are just 1-3 in the LSC, but stand 10-3-1 for the season are ranked seventh in NCAA Division II.