Prescott, AZ- Down 1-0 at the break, Sophomore Damian Sanchez came to the rescue with an assist and two goals in the second half as Arizona Christian beat Embry-Riddle 3-1 on a soggy Tuesday evening.
After seeing the women's match cancelled ahead of them and their start time pushed back an hour due to weather, the Firestorm (4-2) played completely flat in the first half. ACU managed just two shots the opening 45 minutes. The Eagles (2-4) capitalized on their home field as they converted a goal in the 32nd minute.
With a shot hitting the crossbar and another one requiring a team save, the Firestorm easily could have been down 3-0 at the half but kept it at 1-0.
Whatever pep talk Head Coach Andrew Belleman gave at halftime - it worked.
Just three and a half minutes into the second half, Sanchez sent a pass through the Embry-Riddle defense and Junior Anthony Archuleta slipped a shot past the goalkeeper into the net. For Archuleta, it was his fourth goal of the year.
The match remained tie at 1-1 until the 77th minute when Sanchez took on his defender, beat him, and slid a shot far post for the 2-1 edge. Not even two minutes later, a loose ball in the box resulted in Sanchez scoring his fourth goal of the season as he poked the ball into the goal.
ACU took only more shot in the final ten minutes- a free kick by Freshman Miguel Vasquez that sailed high.
The Eagles brought the pressure in the final ten minutes as they took four shots and three corners in that time frame. Junior Brian Booker - traditionally a forward who was asked to tend the goal for the match - earned two saves in the final four Embry-Riddle shots to secure the win.
Coach Belleman stated, "I was disappointed how we played in the first half, but proud of how they responded in the second half. We played exactly how we want to play in second half and was glad the guys were able to finish some chances. It was a great team performance!"
On Saturday, the Firestorm will be back home to host Benedictine-Mesa at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex. The men will follow the women with a 1:30 pm kickoff.