The University of Redlands men's soccer team battled against NCAA Division II opponent, Cal State University of San Marcos, in Friday afternoon's season opener. In an exciting and physical match, the Bulldogs came up short on the road in a 2-3 overtime decision to the Cougars.
Following back-and-forth action early in the first half, junior midfielder Derrin Valeri (Atlanta, GA) helped gain the early lead for the Bulldogs with a netter 20 minutes into the contest.
The Maroon and Gray defense held up until the Cougars slipped one into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 with nine minutes left in the opening frame. CSUSM attempted two more shots, one of which was saved by first-year goalkeeper Adrian Muñoz (Pasadena, CA), as the squads entered the break in a stalemate.
Redlands had its chances early in the second stanza, as Valeri and first-year forward Ethan Kovach (Las Vegas, NV) each fired off a quality shot.
Late in the game, stellar play by Muñoz kept the game knotted up, as he racked up back-to-back saves in a two-minute span. However, CSUSM took advantage of a costly foul with 3:42 remaining in regulation that led to a successful penalty shot and a 2-1 lead.
The Maroon and Gray did not stay down for long, as sophomore forward Steve Acuña (Pico Rivera, CA) forced extra time with a clutch goal in the 89th minute. San Marcos attempted one more shot, but Muñoz erased the attempt before the end of regulation.
In a hard-fought overtime period, CSUSM scored the game-winning goal in the 98th minute to earn the 3-2 win.
For the game, Muñoz registered nine saves in a solid debut between the posts.
Up next, Redlands (0-0-1) competes in its home opener against Whitworth University (WA) on Sunday, September 1, at 7 p.m.