The Western Texas Westerners pushed home a penalty keep from 15 yards away in the final minutes of play on Friday and held on to claim a controversial 5-4 victory over the Ranger College men's soccer team on a rain-soaked Rangers Field.
Only moments after Jarrel McMaster had headed a shot into the WTC net to tie the game at 4-4, the Westerners were awarded a penalty kick – their third of the contest. Western Texas' Jose Umana drilled a shot past the RC goalie for a 5-4 lead with 2:46 left in regulation.
Ranger threatened moments later but failed to score.
"We came back from two goals down to equalize it," said McMaster, a freshman forward from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. "Unfortunately, we gave away some penalties. That was our fault, but we came back. In the end, we gave them another penalty which cost us the game."
McMaster staked Ranger College to a quick lead in the Region V showdown. He drilled a free kick past the WTC goalie just minutes into the first half to put the Rangers up 1-0.
However, the Westerners fought their way back. Aided by a pair of penalty kicks, Western Texas rallied to take a 4-3 lead with 10 minutes left in the contest.
McMaster breathed new life into the RC attack with less than eight minutes left by turning a pass from sophomore Melvin Landaverde into a header that bounced past the WTC goalkeeper and knotted the game at 4-4.
Moments later, Ranger was whistled for a penalty near the goal that set up WTC's game-winning shot.
Despite the late penalty and ejection of sophomore Landon Beach for protesting the call, McMaster said he believes Ranger played well, and that the loss would help drive the team to improve.
"I can say, everyone was getting frustrated," he said. " All in all, our team was the better one. We played very well and we as a team, will be training every day until we meet them again."
Ranger College will face Western Texas again on Oct. 16 in Snyder.
The Rangers bounced back from the loss to the Westerners in grand fashion on Saturday by downing Southwest Adventist University by a 4-0 margin.
With the split of their weekend games, the Ranger College men improved to 3-3 for the season.
The Rangers' next home game will be at 2 p.m. on Sept. 14 against Cedar Valley College.