An increasingly frustrating evening for Central Baptist College against Arkansas-Pine Bluff got even worse when Tarra Hendricks was given a red card for fighting with Erica Cervantes.
The sending off gave the Lady Lions (2-8) a one-woman advantage that allowed them to hold onto their 2-0 lead en route to their second win of the season Tuesday at Pumphrey Stadium.
“She laid me out, then I laid her out,” Cervantes said of the altercation with Hendricks. “Then she tackled me to the ground, and I felt my hair get pulled and her call me a name.
“Then I felt a punch and had to defend myself, because I was not going to let that happen on our field, but I had to walk away.”
The junior’s refusal to fight back likely kept her from getting red carded, too, something that would have forced her to miss UAPB’s first Southwestern Athletic Conference game Oct. 4 at Grambling State.
“It was a crucial call,” UAPB head coach Rohan Naraine said of Cervantes not being given a card. “I think the referees missed a foul against them, and then both went down.
“The other girl was on top of Erica and she was just down there defending herself. She was smart to walk away.”
As physical as the game was getting, Cervantes knew eventually an altercation would occur.
“I think the referees let (the game) get out of hand,” she said. “We were not getting a lot of calls and they were.
“Things from the first half and some in the second were starting to add up, so it was only a matter of when it would happen.”
The game saw contrasting styles play to a stalemate over the first 45 minutes.
CBC’s (3-6) ball-control offense created chances, including one shot that UAPB junior midfielder Emily Antoku saved from going in.
UAPB used a counter-attacking style to create its first-half chances. Several Lady Lions had attempts that just barely missed.
Early on, senior Celeste Carrera sent a shot just over the crossbar. Just a few minutes later freshman Kayla Reynolds saw her shot go just wide of the left post. In the half’s final minute, a handball just outside the 18-yard box allowed senior Czelene Carrera to send in a free kick, but just like her twin sister’s shot the ball sailed just over the bar.
It took the Lady Lions just 10 second-half minutes to beat CBC junior goalie Becca Clements.
A perfectly weighted pass from Celeste Carrera found the feet of sophomore Traebiyana Dimanche, who sent a left-footed shot just inside the left post.
“I think it was a really important goal,” Dimanche said. “It really gave us a lot of confidence and really got us rolling.”
“It was a critical goal,” Naraine said. “We got the lead and had to hold onto it.
“They have a really tough goalie that we knew we had to beat.”
UAPB took the initiative and quickly doubled its lead.
Just four minutes after the opening goal, Celeste Carrera again was the benefactor as she fed her sister a pass that Czelene sent over Clements’ head from about 16 yards out.
“It was very big,” Dimanche said of Czelene Carrera’s goal. “It helped solidify the first one.
“It helped us relax a little bit.”
The win gives the Lady Lions some momentum as they prepare for conference play.
“I’m really happy,” Naraine said “We’ve got to be a lot sharper, but I’m real happy and real proud of the effort our girls gave.
“Give credit to CBC; they always give us a tough game.”
Cervantes now knows that better than anybody.