ADRIAN, Mich. - It was a rough start for the Goshen College men's soccer team, dropping its 2012 season opener 4-1 at Siena Heights University Wednesday night.
A shaky start led to an early deficit as the Saint's Alex Chwalibog put the hosts up 1-0 just 62 seconds into the contest, finishing a cross from Aaron Lain.
"I feel that we were not ready to play at all once the whistle blew and it showed as we ave up the goal in the first minutes of the game off our mistake," head coach Tavi Mounsithiraj explained. "We just gave the ball away in our own half and due to their speed, high pressure, and playing on fast surface (turf), it was just a rough start, but I know that we can play better."
As bad of a start it was for Goshen, things did turn rather quickly. Just eight minutes after giving up the opening goal, the Maple Leafs struck for the equalizer. Sophomore Caleb Longenecker (Grayslake, Ill.) sent a through ball to senior Daniel Martin (Salem, Ore.) who was left one-on-one with the keeper and placed the ball in the back of the net for a 1-1 tie.
It was less than 15 minutes later, though, that Siena Heights retook their advantage. Justin Johnson tallied in the 23rd minute and Shane Patterson added a goal in the 37th to give the Saints a 3-1 lead at halftime.
"In the second half we played much better and were able to get some good chances, one with Joe Gunden going in and missing a great opportunity by inches," Mounsithiraj said. "We continued to play hard and continued to learn. Give credit to Siena Heights, they were ready to play and forced us to make mistakes."
The hosts final tally came in the waining minutes of the contest, their second off the night coming directly off a corner kick. They had eight corners on the night and 24 shots, including 10 on frame. The Leafs had just two shots on goal, including Martin's score. Senior Brian O'Leary (Seattle, Wash.) made six saves in the loss.
"We have a lot of work to do before our home opener on Saturday," Mounsithiraj added. "Even though the outcome of the game didn't go the way we planned, there are some positives that our coaching staff feel good about and hope to build off. I was quite happy with the performance of our newcomers. I thought Khavoir Graham was fantastic playing in center back and Christian Vendrely did a good job for a freshman. We will need our upperclassmen to step up and lead by example and get this team where it needs to be."
The Maple Leafs (0-1) are set to host Purdue University Calumet at 7 p.m. Saturday night.