For the first time in program history, an Omaha men’s soccer team won a game at the NCAA Tournament, as the Mavericks defeated UNC-Greensboro Thursday night, 3-2.
“This is where you get really really proud of the character of your team,” said head coach Bob Warming. “Things weren’t going well, they’d made a great comeback- fantastic goals- and our team got together in the huddle and that was it. I just felt like they (UNC-Greensboro) weren’t going to score again.”
The Mavericks got out to a 1-0 lead as Nil Ayats buried a Ed Port pass in the 32nd minute to give Omaha the first strike. They held that lead at the half.
After withstanding a UNC-Greensboro push to start the second half, Hugo Kametani went through two defenders and extended the lead to 2-0 in the 68th minute. It was the first of two goals the Summit League Newcomer of the Year scored on the night.
With a two-goal lead, it looked promising for the Omaha side, but the match took a turn quickly. The Spartans scored back-to-back goals in the 72nd and 77th minute, off the feet of Theo Collomb and Mani Austmann respectively, and made it a brand new game.
Once again though, it was Kametani in the right place at the right time, as he’s done all season long. The junior scored the winner in the 87th minute on a header off of a free kick. It was his ninth goal of the season, which ties him with three others for the Mavericks single-season scoring record.
The goal was his third game-winner of the season. Thursday’s contest also marked the third time he’s scored two goals in a game this season.
As for the program itself, Thursday night marked the first time the Mavericks beat a ranked opponent since Omaha took down Virginia Tech on Aug. 27, 2017. It’s the second appearance for the Mavericks in the NCAA Tournament and their first win on the big stage.
Omaha’s 2021 record is now 7-2-1. The Mavericks will face No. 4 Stanford on Sunday, May 2, in the second round.