In two games that were as different as night and day, the UT Tyler Patriots men's and women's soccer teams both picked up 2-1 victories over Northwood University on Wednesday.
In the Patriot women's match, UT Tyler (2-2-1) led 1-0 for the entire first half and the majority of the game. Just 1:08 into the first half, the Patriots took advantage of a corner kick to set up their offense.
Jenna Kyle lofted a pass from the corner that was rejected right back to her. Off the rebound, she found forward Lindsey Henrie set up in front of the goal and Henrie pounded it in for her fourth goal of the season.
Even though the Lady Knights outshot the Patriots, taking 21 rips at the goal to UT Tyler's 14, and played most of the game on the Patriots side of the field, Patriot head coach Stefani Webb's defense was pitching a shutout with two minutes to play in the game.
And then the action picked up.
With 1:09 left, Northwood junior forward Debora Valeri fired a shot from about 15 yards out. Patriot goalkeeper Kristen Robertson, a freshman who just graduated from Robert E. Lee, made the stop, deflecting the ball straight up into the air.
Before Robertson could recover, midfielder Claudia Gomez put in the rebound, tying the game 1-1.
Taking the ball from midfield, the Patriots quickly moved down the field and, with only 39 seconds remaining, midfielder Tiffany Cooksey, a senior from Palestine, took a pass from fellow midfielder Cara Janton and scored the go-ahead goal.
While the Patriot women employed stiff, grinding defense under the hot Texas sun to pull out the win, the Patriot men (4-0) used a plethora of players to constantly hound the Knights.
Head coach Kenny Jones used every one of his 32-man home roster, keeping fresh legs in the game at all times and keeping the ball on Northwood's side of the field for the majority of play. The Patriots' 21 shots overshadowed Northwood's 10 and it was apparent early on that UT Tyler would be aggressive all night.
At the 39:16 mark in the first half, sophomore forward Hampton White beat two defenders up the middle of the field after receiving a pass in stride from midfielder Adam McAlpine. White ripped a shot and Knights goalkeeper Zia Ali got a hand on it, but not enough to alter it outside the goal, giving UT Tyler a 1-0 lead.
On one of the few attacks that the Knights were able to get past Patriot defenders Billy Dixon and Taylor Casillas - the only two Patriots to play the entire game - midfielder Stevie Ibarra lobbed a perfect pass on a corner kick that freshman forward Michael Kendall headed past Patriot goalkeeper Geoff Sherman.
The Patriots continued to attack through the second half and with 12:48 to play in regulation, Northwood's Ali deflected a shot that was put back in by freshman forward Chris Bounds for the eventual game-winner.
In the waning minutes of the game, Patriots goalkeeper Andrew Rogers, who replaced Sherman in the second half, made several saves and on the final play of the game, a corner kick, he deflected the ball away from danger.
The Patriots will open American Southwest Conference play at UT-Dallas, which won the ASC last season.
The men will play first at 5 p.m. and the women will follow at 7 p.m. Saturday.