RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Willian Paulino scored two goals and assisted on another to help the top-ranked University of Rio Grande defeat No. 24 West Virginia University-Tech, 3-0, Wednesday night, in a battle of Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s soccer heavyweights at Evan E. Davis Field.
Rio Grande improved to 15-1 overall and 5-0 inside the KIAC, all but assuring itself the league’s regular season championship and home-field advantage throughout the upcoming conference tournament.
The RedStorm can make the title official when they complete regular season play at Brescia University on Saturday night. The Bearcats are 1-10 overall and 1-4 in league play.
WVU-Tech, which is in its first season as a member of the KIAC, had a 25-match winning streak and 29-match unbeaten streak dating back to the 2014 season snapped, falling to 13-1 overall and 4-1 in conference play.
The Golden Bears can nail down sole possession of second place when it faces Cincinnati Christian on Oct. 31.
Wednesday’s showdown, billed as the KIAC Game of the Week, was a scoreless affair throughout the first half and for the first 15 minutes of the second stanza until Paulino – a junior from Sao Paulo, Brazil – pushed a shot past Tech net-minder Pol Bernaldo from 35 yards out.
Paulino then assisted on a goal by sophomore Joao Paulo Antonio (Sao Paulo, Brazil) just over 15 minutes later to make it 2-0.
The game’s final score was an unassisted marker by Paulino with 5:55 left to play.
Paulino’s two-goal, one-assist night allowed him to surpass WVU-Tech’s Francisco Neto for the league lead in points and tie Neto for the league lead in goals. He now has 15 goals and five assists for 35 points, while Neto has 15 goals and four assists for 34 points.
The Golden Bears, who were forced to play a man down for the final 33:45 of the contest after Drew Lytton was assessed a red card for rough play, were outshot, 21-6, including 6-1 on goal.
Tech entered the game ranked first nationally in goals per game (4.85) and shots on goal per game (14.0) and was second in shots per game (25)
Freshman Ben Martinez (Montpellier, France) recorded one save en route to his ninth clean sheet effort of the season.
Bernaldo had three saves in a losing cause for the Golden Bears.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.