Utica, NY – The D'Youville men's soccer team lost their season opener on Saturday afternoon, falling to the Utica Pioneers by the final score of 2-0.
It was a scoreless game until the 12th minute of the game when Utica scored on their second shot of the game to go up 1-0. The Pioneers continued to maintain possession throughout the remainder of the first half, putting several more shots on goal but were denied each time. With less than 0:30 to go on the clock in the half, Hunter Sherman (Lockport, NY/Lockport) gave the Spartans their first scoring opportunity with a shot on goal, but the Utica keeper kept the shot out and the score 1-0 going into the half.
To open the second half, the Pioneers were determined to double their lead in the game but were unable to get another one past the Spartan's defense. In the 80th minute, Jake Kowalewski (Attica, NY/Attica) nearly tied the game at 1-1 with the team's second shot on goal, but his effort was denied by the Utica keeper again.
Just three minutes later, Utica would get their second goal to put the game away and win it 1-0.
"Today was a great learning experience for us," said head coach Brendan Murphy. "Utica was well coached, well organized and had some very strong attacking players. Our back line held up very well for much of the game. Jake Kowalewski, Josh Hammer (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home), and Matt Davis (Spencerport, NY/Spencerport) all had strong games at the back today."
Goalkeeper Kyle Dick (Churchville, NY/Churchville-Chili) recorded six saves in the game. Sherman and Kowalewski each had one shot.
With the first game in the books for the 2018 season, coach Murphy will look to his younger players to gain experience from games like Utica for future success.
"(There are a) lot of positives to build off of here. This is a young group and we will rely on a bunch of new guys over the course of the season. Game likes these allow them to gain valuable experience at this level. There will be growing pains and hopefully we can learn the lesson from each game we play."
D'Youville will head to Fredonia on Tuesday, September 4 to play their second game of the season. Their opponent will be the Fredonia Blue Devils at 7:00pm.