Montreat College
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Shaw University
Men's Soccer - Wed, Sep. 27, 2017

BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. – After one half, the Montreat Cavaliers and visiting Shaw University Bears offered little insight into who was the better squad as the game remained a scoreless tie at the midway break.  

"The first half was difficult for us, they were very compact defensively," said assistant coach Joao Ehlers. "They defended pretty hard, so that made it difficult for us to get through."

Ehlers noted renewed energy among his players coming out of halftime, something he attributed to the rewards of the squad's heavy training regimen this week. "The training sesssions that we did this past week were really good, and we talked to them at the half," said Ehlers. "I think the energy level raised a lot and that's a good thing."

Head coach Michael Bruce added that the team had recently adopted a strategy to slow opponents out of the gate during the past two contests, after yielding early scores in their only two losses this year. The coaches then implemented a readjustment to a more familiar formation for the Cavaliers in the second half. 

If halftime adjustments are the hallmark of a quality coaching staff, the Cavs' tandem were well on their way to an "A" for the afternoon on Wednesday.

As the crowd continued to filter in on a warm September day at Pulliam Stadium, the home team started to open up its play, and the score, in the second half. When the final whistle blew, the Cavaliers (5-2, 1-1) left little doubt they were the better team after a convincing 5-0 victory over the NCAA Division II Bears (3-4-1).

Henrique Cardoso (JR/Lisbon, Portugal) found the back of the goal in the 58th minute of play to start the Cavaliers' scoring run. Cardoso was returning to the Montreat lineup from injury and provided a spark for the Cavaliers with his second goal of the season. Juan Carlos Ramirez (JR/Guadalajara, Mexico) set up Cardoso perfectly with a centering pass from the wing. 

"He came back and gave us that extra dimension going forward," said Bruce, tempering his enthusiasm with caution. "It's nice to have him back but we don't want to take too many risks, especially when we got a little bit ahead."

From there, Afonso Vieira (FR/Portugal) scored two goals just five minutes apart, giving the Cavaliers' needed breathing room and taking their lead to 3-0. The two scores came off assists from Andre Dinca (FR/Lisbon, Portugal) and Ramirez, respectively. The freshman Vieira has five goals in six games played this season.

A Bears' own goal in the 68th minute and a tally from Ramirez in the 73rd minute of play closed out the scoring. Ramirez enjoyed a four-point afternoon (1G, 2A), as did Vieira (2G).

"I would really love to play in the first half how we played in the second half," said Bruce. "That would be our hope and that's something we need to figure out. Collectively, I think we did a great job: defensively keeping a shutout, and also [offensively] scoring five goals."

Montreat has two days rest before their next game against the AAC's Reinhardt University. They'll face the Eagles in Waleska, Georgia at 4:30 p.m.. Reinhardt is 5-3-1 overall and 4-0 in the AAC. Those four wins have come in their last four games, all against conference opponents. 

The Cavaliers will do their best to end the Eagles streak and extend their own to three games on Saturday.       

Next up: Montreat faces Reinhardt at 4:30 p.m. Check here at game time on Saturday for live streaming.

Pictured: Montreat's Juan Carlos Ramirez

Photo credit & additional Cavalier photos: Daniel Brunson Photography

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