On the first cool day in Texas in months, the Pirates burned up the field with their persistance on offense and their strength on the defensive side.
Five minutes in the Pirates set up a 3 on 2 in the Rhodes box. Two passes led to a one on one shot by Timothy Eamma that carried just wide. Two minutes later Evan Perkins blasted a shot that was saved on a diving chance by the Rhodes keeper. However, Perkins would have his revenge when, after a steal by Matt Nickell, Perkins was delivered a ball and ran past a defender and around the keeper to eventually put the ball in a wide open net to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead just 10 minutes in. The goal is his 7th of the season. The assist was Nickell's 3rd.
After his earlier assist, Matt Nickell tried to get in on the scoring action after a horizontal run across the defense just outside the keeper box led to a difficult shot that Nickell got off but was saved by the keeper.
Southwestern continued to pour on the pressure when, 20 minutes in, the Pirates earned a corner and set up Thomas Davis in the middle of the field. His shot sailed just wide but ensured Rhodes would continue to feel the pressure. The game became a back and fourth affair as each team drove deep down the field and managed several quality shots and had many good scoring opportunities.
After an early goal, both defenses stiffened and the game remained scoreless for the rest of the half. Each team managed 5 shots, 3 on goal.
At halftime, former Pirate soccer player Alex Keller was presented with the Tex Kassen Award, the highest award given to Southwestern student athletes.
Keeping the pressure on early in the second half, the Pirates continued to take the ball deep into Rhodes territory and chip away. Forrest Baker unleashed a shot from in front of the goal that was tipped away for a corner. The corner proved to be unfruitful at the time, but continued to add to the stress of the defense.
The momentum didn't overcome a Pirate mistake in the defense, however, as an arrant pass in the Pirate backfield found Jason Crutcher of Rhodes College who broke away for a one on one with Pirate keeper Nick Pierce. Pierce won the first shot, blocking the ball just mere feet from him. Unfortunately the rebound went right to Crutcher who put the ball in to tie the game at one just eight minutes into the second half.
The Pirates quickly rebounded and managed two consecutive corner kicks thanks to the offensive pressure but were not able to convert on either. Following that, Rhodes started to apply pressure of their own, spending nearly 4 full minutes in Southwestern territory unsuccessfully trying to solve the Pirates defense.
The Pirates had a near miss on a long cross from Baker when Eamma was just wide coming across the goal. One of the toughest tests for the Pirate defense would come with 28 minutes left in the game when Rhodes was awarded a free kick just outside the box but keeper Nick Pierce came up big with a leaping save.
The Pirates finally broke through again when offensive star Evan Perkins had a loose ball come to him at the 18 in front of the goal. After a dribble around a defender, he placed a shot in the lower right 90 to take the lead. Seconds later, Matt Nickell delivered a pass to a streaking Perkins who easily beat the keeper for his third goal of the day.
The Pirates would go on to win the game 3-1. The win takes the Pirates to 7-5-1 on the season and 3-1 in conference. The Pirates take to the field again on Firday, October 14 against Trinity University in San Antonio. The game will be at 8 pm.