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.