UTPB’s Shelby Sharp said he had a feeling Saturday’s soccer match against Heartland Conference foe Newman (Kan.) could turn into a marathon.
Sharp’s hunch came to fruition as he, along with his teammates, were left speechless after losing 2-1 to the Jets in overtime at Falcon Field.
Newman’s Marcio Souza scored the game-winning goal off a crossing pass from Matt McConnell in the 104th minute. The softly-headed ball appeared to be stopped by UTPB goalkeeper Chris Benavides, who dove to his left to make the save, but it slipped out of his hands and into the net.
Benavides finished with five saves.
“I’m not that superstitious of a person, but it just feels like they’ve got something going for them when they play against us,” Sharp said as he recalled splitting a pair of overtime matches against the Jets last season. “You lose your mental focus for 15 seconds and you lose a game.”
The Falcons (5-4 overall, 3-3 Heartland Conference) are on a three-match losing streak, which includes two in conference play.
“I think we’ve lost a little bit of our edge,” Sharp said. “Guys are still making great runs and creating chances but we can’t put the ball in the back of the net. I don’t know the answer to get that sorted out. It’s just frustrating.”
Newman (3-6-1, 2-1-1) scored the first goal of the match, a 22-yard strike from McConnell in the 60th minute. Teammate Victor Rojas was credited with the assist.
UTPB was given a helping hand with an own goal by the Jets’ John Senseman in the 69th minute. Senseman attempted to clear the ball but deflected it into his team’s net.
Even with the gift, the Falcons were unable to capitalize as they could not get the ball into the back of the net despite mustering five shots on goal in the second half.
“It’s a tough thing to take right now,” UTPB head coach Dennis Peterson said. “It just seemed like we weren’t able to put things together (Saturday).”