Tulsa lifts out of a 10-man game victorious

Sports editor Jaralynn Tammi Morellano says soccer fought fiercely while down.
The University of Tulsa’s Men’s Soccer clinched a 1-0 victory over the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Blazers at the Hurricane Soccer and Track Stadium on Friday. Despite having only 10 players on the field, Tulsa was able to hold a tight lead with impeccable defense. Tulsa player highlights of the night included goalkeeper Cedrik Stern making his season debut and left winger Yuki Sekiguchi returning from injury.
The Golden Hurricanes, looking to shake off their loss against UNLV, wasted no time in attempting to get on the scoreboard. Just seven minutes into the match, Mike Eijgendaal unleashed a powerful long-range shot from outside the penalty box that deflected off the Rebel’s goalkeeper, Jonathan Munteanu. The ball was headed clear by the defenders, but Sergio Baena managed to gain control of the ball and attempted a delicate lob shot from a challenging angle on the left side of the goal. Blazers’ defenders rushed into the penalty box, and the ball was expertly cleared with a strong header by their center defender, Issah Hamidu. The ball-ping ponged until it found its way to Yuki Sekiguchi, who delivered a clean placed shot toward the high corner. Just high of the goalkeeper’s hands, his ball was able to meet the net, and Tulsa coined the first goal of the night.
Despite Tulsa’s early dominance, UAB continued to pressure Tulsa’s defensive line, forcing Stern to jump for three saves over the next 29 minutes. As they continued to push against Tulsa’s half of the field, a loose ball was made, sending a UAB striker toward a one-on-one battle with TU’s goalkeeper. With no one else to stop this threat, Stern left the box and was forced to dive for a shot attempt well outside of it. The whistle blew for a handball, and he was shown a red card. Now forced to play a man down, Tulsa sent junior goalkeeper Alex Lopez in.
With a player advantage, UAB continued its offensive efforts while Tulsa shifted to a more defensive style of playing. Due to a 10-man team, Tulsa rarely found themselves able to open any offensive opportunities. An attempt by Will Edwards nearly doubled the score, however, it just hit the right post, bouncing toward a UAB defender ready to clear it out. Their final shot attempts stats sat at four by the end of the game. Despite UAB’s efforts in offense, TU managed to keep their goalkeeper out of trouble, Lopez only having to make 3 saves in that half.
The intensity of the match was way up with 5 yellow cards being shown on the game, one to a Tulsa player not even on the field. However, despite the fierce efforts from both sides, no goals were scored for the remainder of the half, giving Tulsa the 1-0 win.
“I thought the players worked exceptionally hard and kept their composure after going a man down,” head coach Tom McIntosh said. “We had a few spells of possession, particularly at the end of the first half after we were down a player. I thought we were really good then.”
The coach thought they made good opportunities to get the ball into the net, though, they did not make as many chances as they would have liked. However, McIntosh does not fault anyone due to the hard work each man put out there to make up for the lack of manpower.