UE men’s soccer ties Bellarmine in opening contest


Nacho Diaz Barragan scores the Purple Aces first goal of 2023

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — University of Evansville men’s soccer opened the 2023 season in front of its fans with a 1-1 draw against the Bellarmine Knights.

The Purple Aces outmatched the Knights in shots and possession through 90 minutes on Thursday evening, coming back from a one-goal deficit thanks to a goal from forward Nacho Diaz Barragan. Defenders Tobias Bak and Nacho Diaz-Caneja chipped in with Evansville’s first assists of the young season in the 56th minute. Midfielder Jose Vivas had multiple on-target opportunities for UE, leading the team with five shots and three on goal. 

“After preseason we felt pretty prepared coming into this match,” said Interm Head Coach Robbe Tarver. “Bellarmine is a familiar opponent but also one that is going to give you a tough game. [Their] well coached, committed, always going for 50/50’s and they’re relentless. I thought we matched Bellarmine’s intensity, which needs to be a calling card for us if we’re going to be successful this year,”. 

It was a slow burn to begin the game as the teams found their footing in the new season. The Knights opened up the shooting in the sixth minute but would only record two shots in the first 45 minutes compared to the Aces seven. Evansville tested Bellarmine goalkeeper Matthew Brozovich, forcing two saves including a late corner kick attempt by midfielder Carlos Barcia. Barcia’s shot from the left corner forced a jumping save almost finding its way into the far upper corner of the net. 

But it would be the Knights who struck first as they scored in the 51st minute on a goal by CalleSjoberg. Their lead wouldn’t last long as the Aces quickly found the tying goal in the 56th minute. Bak made a cross to the right side of the field where Diaz-Caneja connected with his head, putting the ball just inside the box. Diaz Barragan finished the job with a leaping scissor kick, connecting with his right foot to beat Brozovich. With momentum on their side, the Aces peppered Bellarmine’s end through the rest of the second half, racking up six shots that included three for Vivas in the final two minutes of play. 

 UE gets to remain home for the weekend, with its next match at McCutchan Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Aces will take on Cal State Fullerton on Aug. 27 with kick-off at 1 p.m.