ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - The University of Rio Grande men's soccer team saw its run toward a national championship come to an abrupt halt on Wednesday night.
William Carey (Miss.) snapped a scoreless tie with a goal late in the first half and then got a pair of scores from Matheus Saroli just past the midway point of the second stanza en route to a 3-1 win over the RedStorm in the quarterfinal round of the 2011 NAIA National Championship Tournament at a chilly Orange Beach Sportsplex.
The 12th-seeded Crusaders, who also erased tournament host and No. 4 seed Mobile (Ala.) on Monday in second round action, improved to 16-3-3 with the victory and advanced to Friday's semifinal round for a showdown with top-seeded Hastings (Neb.).
Rio Grande, the No. 5 seed in the tournament, finished its season at 19-3 with the loss and was denied a fifth trip to the Final Four since 2001.
William Carey controlled the first half, outshooting the RedStorm 11-5, but the first shot to find the back of the net didn't come until just 3:16 remained in the period when Ryan Weir scored without the aid of an assist.
That's how things stayed until Saroli drove the final nails in the Rio Grande coffin with two goals in a span of just 37 seconds.
The first one came without the aid of an assist with 16:02 remaining in the contest, while the other came with 15:25 still to play off of a feed by Jose Presti.
The RedStorm managed just three shots - only one of which was on goal - over the next 11-1/2 minutes, but did avoid being shutout for the first time this season when sophomore forward Orlando Zapata (Medellin, Columbia) scored off of an assist by junior forward Richard Isberner (Sao Paulo, Brazil) with 3:37 left in the contest.
William Carey finished with a 20-16 edge in shots for the game. The two teams were also whistled for 32 fouls - 18 against the Crusaders and 14 against Rio Grande - and each received two yellow cards.
Junior goalkeeper Jack Marchant (Leeds, England) had five saves in the loss for the RedStorm, while William Carey netminder Carl Goody stopped six shots.
Wednesday's season-ending loss marked the final game in a Rio Grande uniform for senior defender Neil Harries (Lancashire, England), midfielder Joel Thiessen (Newcastle, Australia) and midfielder Dylan Williams (Banger, Wales).