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No. 17 Tigers beats Harding, picks up 10th win

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Being a defender, Carlos Linares doesn't get many opportunities to score. So when the junior on the Fort Hays State University men's soccer team put in a goal against visiting Harding (Ark.) University on Saturday, it was something of a rare occasion.

"He's come close a lot this year," FHSU men's soccer coach Brett Parker said. "He is pretty dangerous on set pieces and finally, I told him it was about the 15th chance in the same spot all year and he finally put one in the back of the net."

The goal came early in the second half, the first score of the game for either team, and led to a 4-1 win for the Tigers in their final home conference match. It was the second win of the season over Harding for FHSU, the first coming 3-0 on Sept. 28 in Searcy, Ark.

The goal was the second in the career of Linares, the first coming against this same Harding team last season in a 2-1 win.

"It feels real nice to contribute," Linares said. "Helping out the team in whatever way, if that's scoring or keeping away goals. But I'm really happy I finally scored again."

FHSU, which was coming off a 0-0 draw against Northeastern State on Thursday, outshot Harding 9-4 in the first half but couldn't finish. It wasn't until Linares's goal -- which was set up by a corner kick -- that the offense finally opened up.

Harding responded quickly, however, answering barely a minute later when Cole Walker snuck past a sleeping defense to tie the game at 1-1.

"It was a lapse of concentration by a couple of our guys," Parker said. "A lack of communication. That's very frustrating and it's happened to us a few times this year. But you are always vulnerable after you score a goal."

The Tigers controlled the game from there, getting goals by Michael Cole, Diego Cabral and Ricardo Yeverino. FHSU outshot Harding 22-10 for the game.

"That was our big stress going into the match -- to create lots of goal scoring opportunities," Parker said. "Sometimes the ball didn't bounce our way in the first half, but the second half we were persistent and got the job done."

The win improves FHSU, ranked No. 17 in the nation, to 10-2-2 overall, 5-1-2 in MIAA. Harding fell to 5-6-3, 3-5-0 in MIAA.

The Tigers will host their final home match of the season at 1 p.m. Tuesday against non-conference opponent West Texas A&M, which is ranked No. 19 in the nation.