PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University men’s soccer coach Carlos Elizondo was sure he wanted his team going with the wind in the first half on Sunday against Missouri Southern.
The move paid off with three goals, two by freshman forward Edgar Bear, and the Greyhounds cruised to a 4-0 Southwest Soccer Conference win over the Lions at the ENMU pitch.
The win boosted the Hounds (7-8-1, 2-4-1 SSC) into third place in the five-team league and established a school record for wins in a season. ENMU, which went 5-3-1 at home this fall, wraps up its campaign with a non-league clash at UT-Permian Basin on Sunday and an SSC tilt at Midwestern State on Nov. 2.
By jumping on top early, the Hounds virtually assured themselves a win. The Lions (3-9-2, 0-5-1) have scored just nine goals all season, including one in league play.
“Through experience, we’ve learned that,” Elizondo said of taking the wind. “It’s been a big factor in most of our games here this year. We knew we wanted to go out and put pressure on them.
“It’s been a long season for (Missouri Southern). Our overall stats are better than theirs, but we’ve been on that end of it.”
Bear scored off an assist from Jared Morris in the 16th minute. Then another freshman, Dreaux Plair, fired a shot that hit the crossbar and bounded in for a 2-0 lead before Bear got his second goal at the 27:32 mark.
The Hounds got only one shot on goal in the second half, but senior Donnell Jackson’s attempt from the left side found the net with about 25 minutes left.
Six seniors were honored before the match — Jackson, Ryan Atkinson, Leif Craddock, Babila Nketi, Andrew Perez and Keith Vargas. Craddock made six saves in goal for his third shutout of the season.
“It was senior day and they wanted to go out and play well,” Elizondo said. “We did some good things (in Friday’s 2-2 tie) against Northeastern (State), and we continued to do those things today.”