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Firebirds Shock Mercy, 3-1; Improve to 2-0 in ECC Play

Sophomore midfielder Kelvin Hererra registered a goal and an assist.
Sophomore midfielder Kelvin Hererra registered a goal and an assist.

DOBBS FERRY, NY – The University of the District of Columbia shocked the No. 5 ranked team in the East Region, Mercy College, 3-1 on the road Saturday afternoon in East Coast Conference play at Mercy Field.

With this upset win, the Firebirds improved to 2-0 in league play (2-6 overall) and have now won two of their last three games. Mercy, which entered the game unbeaten through seven games this season, fell to 6-1-1 overall and 2-1 in league play.

The Mavericks, who feature the league's third-leading goal-scorer in junior forward Ericson Penate, figured to be highly favored in this game with 20 goals scored and just five goals allowed compared to UDC's five goals scored and 19 goals allowed this year prior to this game. However, the Firebirds today showed what they are capable of at full-strength. They played the Mavericks to a 1-all tie in the first half and then outscored the Mavericks, 2-1 in the second half to pull off the victory.

The two ECC foes were even in shots, 11-all, UDC had two more shots on goal (6-4), and Mercy had a 10-7 advantage in corner kicks. UDC senior goalkeeper Ever Alvarez earned the complete game victory with three saves and one goal allowed. Mercy's Kwantarian Van der Lara took the loss with three saves and three goals allowed.

Freshman midfielder Gabriel Torres and sophomore midfielder Kelvin Hererra each registered a goal and an assist for UDC, and reserve freshman forward Malik Thom added a goal as well.

Lucca Lacerda scored Mercy's lone goal, while Donovan Cesar was the game's most active offensive player with five shots (two on goal). Penate was held to just one off-target shot all game.

Lacerda's goal came just before the 10-minute mark in the first half, giving the host Mavericks a short-lived 1-0 lead. The Firebirds would shut down Mercy for the remaining 80 minutes of the game.

UDC responded about four minutes later as Hererra scored off of an assist by sophomore forward Kevin Claure-Guzman to force a 1-all tie. Neither team scored for the remainder of the half, so the two teams headed to the locker room tied.

Thom put UDC ahead to stay with the gamewinner in the 57th minute. Torres was credited with the assist. Eight minutes later, Torres scored his own goal courtesy of an assist by Hererra, and that gave UDC all the insurance it would need as Alvarez made all three of his saves in the second half to preserve the victory.

UDC will look to improve to 3-0 in league play as the Firebirds visit St. Thomas Aquinas on Wednesday, September 28th at 3 p.m. The Spartans are currently 2-0-1 in league play and 5-1-1 overall.