Christian Lima (SR/Sao Paulo, Brazil)’s flair for the dramatic was also a testimonial to Kansas Wesleyan’s relentless determination that finally paid dividends at the last possible moment.
Lima redirected a ball into the net on an indirect kick from Luis Simbron (JR/Miami, Fla.) from 20 yards out with three seconds left in regulation, giving the Coyotes a wild and improbable 1-0 Kansas Conference victory over Tabor on Wednesday night at Graves Family Sports Complex.
Wesleyan remains in second place in the conference standings at 3-0 and is 3-1 overall. Oklahoma Wesleyan, which is ranked fifth in the NAIA, leads the pack at 5-0.
The final play evolved after a Tabor foul.
“Like we do in practice we attacked the ball,” said Lima, a midfielder and transfer a from Folsom Lakes College a year ago. “Basically, we just went for the ball 110 percent like coach (Miguel Prieto) says all the time. It’s what we needed, it was our last chance before overtime and we just took advantage of it and were able to score.”
The goal erased what had been a frustrating night for the Coyotes, who had outshot Tabor 16-2 before Lima’s game-winner. The Bluejays made things difficult with a sagging defensive strategy.
Prieto said was pleased his team kept the pressure on from start to finish.
“We just needed to be patient, we were on them and we just needed to keep moving the ball,” he said. “We were looking to get the ball inside the middle and create something out a set piece. It was a lucky ball in there, a scramble and we were able to put one away.”
Prieto was particularly happy with his team’s persistence and resilience.
“Like Christian said it’s always about giving that 110 percent no matter what the result is,” he said. “We just don’t stop working, we have to keep working and be patient and try to find the openings, move the ball and try to finish on top.”
The Coyotes had scored 11 combined goals in their two previous matches, victories over Bethany and Bethel. Wednesday they showed they can also win a close one.
“This gives us a lot of motivation, it puts them in a situation they haven’t been before, so I think this lifts them,” Prieto said. “Knowing we had three games in a week it was a good thing that we were able to come up with the win tonight.”
Wesleyan’s defense was superb the entire night, limiting Tabor to two shots – one on goal. The Coyotes put seven shots on goal and had 10 corner kicks to one for Tabor, which fell to 1-4 overall, 0-3 in the conference.
Lima, who scored on his only shot of the match, was happy with the victory, but wanted to things in perspective afterwards.
“I believe that it’s good to have confidence,” he said, “but at the same time we’ve got to be humble and keep doing our best and giving 110 percent every game, no matter who we play against. Soccer’s soccer and we never know what could happen.”