EUREKA – Newcomer Diego Cintora (Watseka, Ill./Watseka H.S.) scored his first collegiate goal to pull the Eureka College men's soccer team even in the 58th minute and Michael Hansen (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S.) followed with the match-winner in the 65th minute – his eighth career tally – to send the Red Devils to 2-1 season-opening victory over Lakeland at McKinzie Field, Saturday afternoon.
Cintora's strike at 57:30 tied the match at 1-1 after Lakeland snagged the early advantage on Denver Roberts's goal just 155 seconds into the contest. James Bowen (Homer Glen, Ill./Seneca H.S.) was credited with an assist on Cintora's goal, the 11th of his career to claim sole possession of third place on Eureka's all-time list.
The tied score was short-lived – Hansen took a feed from Cintora and beat LU goalkeeper Tyson Carter less than seven minutes later for a 2-1 advantage. The goal allowed Hansen to become just the seventh player in program history to score eight career goals.
Eureka held the Muskies at bay over the final 25-minutes, 38-seconds to hang on for its second season-opening victory in the last three seasons. Saturday's final tally also marked Eureka's first soccer victory on the FieldTurf at McKinzie Field.
Alex Yates (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) played the final 45 minutes in goal for the hosts, stopping all seven shots he faced to earn the victory.
Eureka will return to the pitch Thursday at 4 p.m. for a non-conference match with Finlandia at Traister Field.