HELENA -- It’d been nearly a month, but the Carroll College men’s soccer team is back on a winning streak.
Carroll College defeated University of Providence 2-0 on Sunday at Nelson Stadium.
“Anytime you beat them it’s a good win,” Saints coach Doug Mello said.
The Saints (7-5, 5-4 Cascade Collegiate Conference) defeated College of Idaho 4-0 last week, translating some of the success of that game into early scoring chances against the Argonauts (5-6, 4-5), and a second strong game overall.
“It was pretty imperative that we see this thing out and get the win,” Mello said. “Kudos to the guys.”
Jose Mena beat the keeper with a ground ball to the right corner in the 20th minute to get the Saints on the board early on. Riley Prescott assisted Mena on the play.
“I got the ball and I saw I was alone,” Mena said. “Took it to the keeper going to the left and I shot to my right.”
The goal came as a bit of a relief for the Saints. Carroll had three other grand opportunities and could not finish with a goal early on. It’s a trait that slowed the Saints earlier in the season, notably leading to losses against Northwest and Eastern Oregon, Mello said.
“I’ll be honest I was a bit concerned when we broke them down pretty quickly in the match and had three good opportunities to score and pushed a couple wide, and the goalie had a good save on one,” Mello said.
The game, as other Carroll-Great Falls matchups have gone, was a chippy battle from the opening kick. University of Providence received five yellow cards, one which became a red card and an ejection of George Holloway in the first half. Carroll received three yellow cards on their side.
“It’s always a tight game,” Mello said. “You’re not going to give an inch, because if you do that’s the thing a team can seize on.
“The emotion was high. With that being said, the big thing is we always say, keep within the match.”
Mena struck again in the 72nd minute, making a strong run down the right side and finishing his strike on the right side of the goal.
“I just had to power through it,” Mena said. “I knew we needed that so I gave my all. I actually cramped afterward.”
Mena had battled through the flu earlier this season, and appears to be back at full strength for Carroll.
The Carroll College women held a lead against University of Providence on Sunday at Nelson Stadium, but an equalizer and a game-deciding goal in overtime gave the Argonauts a 2-1 win.
“It was a good game,” Saints coach Dave Thorvilson said. “Both teams played hard. I was diappointed for the referees for both teams. I don’t think they had an exceptional game. It’s a little disappointing that they could have decided the game.”
Carroll scored first when Brynn Walker beat her defender to strike a ball into the upper 90. Walker’s goal came in the 64th minute.
Providence tied the game in the 83rd minute when Malena Lennon shot and ricocheted the ball off the left post before it bled into the goal. Eme McLaughlin assisted no the play.
Providence had a golden opportunity to win the game early in overtime as Carroll was whistled for a hands ball. Syndey Knieriem took the free kick and skied it over the goal.
In the second overtime period, Sandralee Deville fired a long ball and McLaughlin ran under it and beat the keeper to the far post to end the game.
“Great Falls played well today,” Thorvilson said. “They took advantage of their opportunities. I thought we looked pretty good, but when we get nervous it costs us a little bit. They scored two goals that were just little mistakes on our end.”
Carroll is now 5-6-2 overall and 1-4-2 in Cascade Collegiate Conference. Providence improves to 5-6 (4-3).
Carroll is back at home next weekend for games against Northwest University and Evergreen State on Friday and Saturday, respectively.