EUREKA, Ill. – Sophomore forward Brady Thomas (Mt. Pulaski, Ill./Mt. Pulaski) netted a hat trick, including the match-winner off a penalty kick in the '74 minute, propelling the Red Devils to a 4-3 victory over non-conference opponent Lincoln Christian, Thursday afternoon at Traister Field.
The visitors jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after Parker Radecki found the back of the net in the seventh minute. LCU would tack on another goal later in the half, a Paulo Espinoza goal in the 17thminute off an assist from Radecki, extending their lead to 2-0.
Thomas trimmed the deficit in half later in the first, netting his first goal in a Red Devil uniform off a pass from freshman midfielder James Bowen (Homer Glen, Ill./Seneca).
The Red Devils would answer once more before the first buzzer sounded as freshman defender Brock Musoiu(Carbondale, Ill./Carbondale) would power home a header off a corner kick from Bowen, evening the score at 2-2, with just seven ticks remaining.
Thomas add his second goal of the contest to put the Red Devils ahead, 3-2, in the 67th minute off an assist from junior transfer Mark Murphy (Morton, Ill./Morton).
The lead was short-lived as Favio Espinoza would square the match on a penalty kick under three minutes later in the 69th minute.
Sophomore goal keeper Daniel Johnson (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) recorded ten saves to earn his first collegiate victory between the post.
Thomas' three-goal effort was the tenth hat trick in program history, and the first by a Red Devil since Mark Meyerscored three goals against the same opponent on Sept. 12, 2012. Thursday's four-goal outburst from the Red Devils was Eureka's best offensive showing at home since an Oct. 24, 2013 match against Lincoln Christian were the Red Devils also netted four goals. The victory also moved the Red Devils to 7-3 all-time against the Lions, including a 4-1 record at Traister Field.
Eureka (1-0-0) will jump right into St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on the road against Iowa Wesleyan. That contest will take place next Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.