(Editor's note: Carroll College media release)
HELENA -- Carroll College's men's soccer team battled to a 2-2 draw of Lethbridge on Wednesday at Nelson Stadium in both team's season opener.
The Saints took an early 1-0 lead when Jero Lago Huerta knocked a ball in the back of the net off an assist from Ben Dagg just five minutes into the game. The Saints extended that lead when Pablo Salamanca took a feed from Huerta and pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 21st minute.
"Both teams gave a hard felt effort," Saints coach Doug Mello said. "Neither team really could command the game like both teams wanted to. We started off on the right root and instead of kind of going and really breaking them, we softened up a bit."
Lethbridge bounced back with a goal from Ben Kutas in the 26th minute.
Still, it was the Saints who led 2-1 at halftime. Through strong ball possession and a slew of shots (Carroll out-shot Lethbridge 18-11), it felt as though it was just a matter of time before the Saints broke through again.
Unfortunately for CC, it was Lethbridge's Tyler Quinn who knotted the game at two in the 72nd minute.
"We let them get some chances which allowed them to get some confidence," Mello said. "The next thing you know they are taking it to us a bit."
As the game wore on in the 80-degree temperatures, the level of chippiness rose. Carroll's Ben Dagg and Lethbridge's Kutas each received a yellow card in separate incidents in the overtime periods.
While the Saints generated some high quality looks in OT -- notably a near-header from Jack Bentson -- it was Lethbridge who received a penalty kick in the box.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kaden Connor came up big with a block on the PK and effectively preserved a draw.
"One of the big things was Kaden making the PK save," Mello said. "That was huge.There was as 10 minute span after he made that save that we were down and doing stuff and then we ran out of steam fitness-wise."
While the Saints (0-0-1) begin the season with a counter, they will jump into an exhibition slate this weekend against Gillette and Sheridan.
"I would certainly like us to be able to put a couple more balls in the back of the net off of taking so many shots," Mello said. "I have no idea what to expect from Gillete. They'll go strong."