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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2018) – For the first time in program history, the Johnson & Wales (Fla.) men's soccer team (9-6-0) is advancing to the Sun Conference semifinals after the Wildcats defeated the St. Thomas Bobcats (7-7-2), 3-2, on and wet-and-rainy Saturday evening.
Freshman Fernando Arzeno recorded his second-straight multiple-goal game, notching two scores including the game-winner in the Wildcats first win over the Bobcats since the 2013 season. After a scoreless first half, the native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, got JWU on the board connecting on a cross from teammate Rodrigo Doben in the 50th minute. Azreno scored from 10-yards out to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. The goal was the 11th of the season for the first-year forward while the assist for Doben was his first of the year.
STU responded with a goal of its own in the 58th minute. Luis Stalin Munoz struck a high-curling ball from approximately 20 yards out. The shot into the upper 90 got past a diving Gonzalo Rudolf to draw the match even, 1-1.
JWU regained the lead in the 69th minute on a rocket shot by senior Ruben Tejeda. After a cross by the Wildcats into the area was pushed back toward midfield, Tejeda ran up on the ball a blasted a shot far post from well outside the area. St. Thomas goalkeeper Mike Marx had no chance in saving the shot, resulting in a 2-1 lead for the Wildcats.
In the 79th minute, the Wildcats appeared to take control of the match when Bobcat Santeri Bergman was given a red card, forcing St. Thomas to play a man down for the rest of the match. However, during that same minute, the Bobcats pressured JWU, looking for the equalizer. After an STU cross was deflected towards the edge of the 18, STU's Itay Forkosh flicked a bicycle kick near post to tie the game at 2-2.
Both teams were pressing for the go-ahead goal with no success until a hand-ball call in the box resulted in an 87th-minute penalty-kick attempt for the Wildcats. Arzeno, who came into the match perfect in PK attempts this season, scored his 12th goal of the year – a school-record sixth PK goal. His converted PK set the single-season program record for goals in a season with 12. It also marked the freshman's third game-winning goal of 2018.
JWU's Rudolf (4-2-0) earned the win, making two saves on the night. STU's Marx suffered the loss, registering four saves versus the Wildcats.
Both teams tallied nine shots in the contest with Wildcats recording seven on goal to just four for the Bobcats.
The Wildcats will travel to Lakeland, Florida, to face the Southeastern Fire in the TSC semifinals on Tuesday, November 6. Game time is TBA.