COLUMBIA — Vania Barduzzi picked a heck of a game to finally see her son, Dylan, play.
Dylan Barduzzi, the senior forward for the Cougars, stood 30 yards in front of the Park University goal. Boxing out a Park defender, Dylan Barduzzi looked for an open teammate to pass to.
He waited a split second too long and got crunched between Pirates. Dylan Barduzzi fell to the ground after the hard collision.
Vania Barduzzi, who came from Baltimore to watch Columbia College's 1-0 win Friday night, said she enjoyed the game but didn't like seeing her son get hit and knocked down.
"It made me nervous," Vania Barduzzi said, "I want to see him play (again) tomorrow."
Many players took big hits in the physical American Midwest Conference matchup at R. Marvin Owens Soccer Field. Officials handed out three yellow cards to the Cougars and two to the Pirates. Players, referees and coaches tried their best to break up two separate scuffles during the game.
"Maybe she's thinking right now, 'Oh my God, I can't believe it's like this every single game,'" Dylan Barduzzi said of his mother. "I'm going to tell her it's not like that."
Both defenses limited scoring opportunities by stepping in front of scoring threats — causing even more collisions.
Dylan Barduzzi scored the game's only goal on a penalty kick in the fifth minute. He said he expected scoring opportunities to be scarce, so he took his time on the shot.
"I would kill him if he didn't score that," team captain Nikola Velickovic said, half-joking.
Velickovic was among the Cougars who got injured during the game. He took a shot to the ribs and then lifted up his shirt, revealing a long red scrape on his side. Tom Vincenc cut open his forehead in a head-to-head collision. Danny Baird left the game with a leg injury after a hard collision.
Despite the rough play, Vania Barduzzi said she is ready to watch Columbia College play again on Saturday.
The Cougars face Davenport University on senior day at 7 p.m. Saturday at R. Marvin Owens Soccer Field.