by Benny Benton
RICHMOND, Va. – Senior Tolly Beatson and sophomore Ruben Mancio both scored first-half goals and Barton College held off a late push from nationally-ranked University of the District of Columbia to edge the No. 16 Firebirds, 2-1, in a neutral-site meeting Wednesday at City Stadium.
The Bulldogs improved to 2-0 on the season, while UDC slipped to 1-1-1 on the year.
"I'm happy for our boys as this is a good result against a very strong and well-coached opponent," Barton coach Ian McMichael said. "I thought we were very good in the first half, but we want to finish a game with more finesse, which is something we'll look to improve on. We'll enjoy the ride home and then turn all focus to our conference opener on Saturday."
The Bulldogs moved on top in the 27th minute when Beatson captured a UDC clear attempt and ripped a shot from 30 yards out over the top of the Firebird defense for his second goal of the year.
Four minutes later, freshman Ludovic Rocha crossed a ball from the left wing into the box to Mancio, who beat UDC keeper Joao Brusamolin for his second goal of the season and a 2-0 BC advantage.
District of Columbia nearly got one of those goals back in the 38th minute when Jason Mayorga fired a shot from the top of the box, but Barton keeper Francisco Noguera tipped the ball over the top of the crossbar, one of his five saves on the night.
Two minutes later, Mayorga worked free again at the top of the box, but narrowly missed his attempt wide right.
Having survived those attempts, Barton took its 2-0 margin into halftime. Roughly 12 minutes into the second period, however, Gabriel Torres found himself unchallenged on the right wing after settling a cross and blasted a ball past Noguera, cutting the BC lead to 2-1.
Torres nearly recorded his fourth goal of the year and second of the night on a strong header attempt with less than 10 minutes to go, but the shot was captured by Noguera.
UDC had one final opportunity in the final two minutes after receiving a free kick just off the right side of the box, but a rebound shot from the middle by Elvin Arbaiza was blocked by a crowd of Barton defenders. Time expired just as UDC was mounting one final push, completing the upset for the Bulldogs.
The win was Barton's second in a row over UDC when the Firebirds were nationally ranked. The Bulldogs defeated the No. 21 Firebirds, 3-1, in 2014 on their way to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
Barton's 2-0 start is also its first since that historic 2014 season. The Bulldogs haven't won three in a row to start a season in more than 20 years, but can do so with a win at home on Saturday against Conference Carolinas foe Belmont Abbey College. Match time is 4 p.m. at the Barton Outdoor Athletics Complex.