DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Pau Delgado Rodriguez scored a pair of goals to help the University of Rio Grande pull away for a 3-1 win over Corban (Ore.) University in the second round of the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship, Tuesday morning, at the Seacrest Soccer Complex.
The RedStorm, the tourney’s No. 2 seed and the defending national champions, improved to 20-1-1 with the victory and advanced to Wednesday’s quarterfinal round against seventh-seeded Union (Ky.) College – a 3-0 winner over Spring Arbor (Mich.) in another of Tuesday’s second round games.
Corban, which was ranked 12th and seeded 15th, finished 20-3 with the loss.
Delgado Rodriguez, a senior from Barcelona, Spain and the River States Conference Offensive Player of the Year, scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season in the second half after the two teams played to a scoreless draw at the intermission.
Rio Grande, which was ranked No. 3 in the final regular season coaches’ poll, dominated play after halftime by recording a 16-5 edge in shots, including an 8-3 advantage in shots on frame.
Senior Jeremy de Hoog (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), who scored the game-winning marker in last year’s national title game, got the scoring underway just 2:41 into the second stanza by pushing a penalty kick past Corban goal keeper Jordan Farr for a 1-0 lead.
Delgado Rodriguez then added both of his insurance scores in a span of just over three minutes.
His first score came at 65:55 – a shot from in front of the goal, which drew a dual assist from senior Lucas Talaveria-Befi (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and sophomore Eduardo Zurita (Sant Boi de Llobregat, Spain) – and the second at 69:09 when he tipped in a right-side pass from sophomore Ben Mendoza (Chichester, England).
Corban avoided a shutout with 11:43 left in the contest when Timur Zhividze scored from the far left side on a shot into the near post. Armando Guevara assisted on the play, returning the ball back to Zhividze following a corner kick.
Sophomore Ben Martinez (Montpellier, France) stopped three shots in goal for Rio Grande.
Farr had seven saves in the loss for the Warriors.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.
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