CLAREMORE, Okla. – Rogers State men's soccer earned a 1-0 victory over national power Fort Hays State on Thursday (Sept. 7) at Soldier Field in the 2017 home opener for the Hillcats. The win gave head coach Derek Larkin his 100th career victory as the RSU head men's soccer coach, a position he has held since the program's inception in 2007.
"It just means something that the team that we have got to be a part of this," Larkin said after the game. "It was a big night. It was our 100th game played here at home. To play a top ranked team and have it all come together, it makes it that much sweeter. I'm so proud of the boys. We had a freshman come off the bench and score the game winner for his first collegiate goal. I'm more excited about that than anything. It was fantastic for the boys to rebound after a tough road trip and to play a top team like Fort Hays and come away with a victory."
Freshman Jaxon Pitt scored the game-winning goal in the 63rd minute. Kevin Kwarteng played in a ball that allowed Pitt to split two defenders and beat the goalkeeper to the near post for the 1-0 advantage midway through the season half. The goal was Pitt's first career collegiate goal in the navy and red.
The Hillcats (2-1) controlled the play of the game against Fort Hays State, which was ranked No. 11 in the preseason polls. RSU put 10 shots on frame, including the goal, and held the Tigers to only three opportunities. In the first half, RSU edged FSHU in shots at 8-4, and the second half saw the Cats outshoot the Tigers, 8-4. For the game, RSU held a 16-7 lead in shots.
To start the second half, the navy and red put tremendous pressure on the Tigers with five shots on goal in the first 15 minutes before the game-winning tally. The Cats finally broke through with the goal in the 63rd minute for the 1-0 edge.
RSU's defense held strong for the rest of the game as the Tigers managed only one shot, a header high and off target, in the final 27 minutes. It marked the second shutout win of the season for the Hillcats.
Senior goalkeeper Cody Gammill started and went the full 90 minutes to earn the shutout victory. He totaled three saves to move to 1-0 on the season in goal.
The Hillcats go on the road on Sunday (Sept. 10) at Southwest Baptist for a 2 p.m. contest in Bolivar, Missouri.
For more information on RSU soccer, go to www.rsuhillcats.com.