A promising start gave way to a disappointing finish for the Marshall soccer team in its Southwest Conference opener against Worthington Tuesday at Mattke Field at the Regional Event Center.
The Tigers struck first in the fifth minute when Trevor Johnson punched in a goal in front of the net on an assist from Bryce Johnson. But it was two long-range goals in the final five minutes of the match by Worthington's Victor Meza that erased any hopes the Tigers had of getting a result as the Trojans pulled away for a 3-1 victory.
Marshall had multiple chances to add to its opening goal, but stellar saves by Worthington goalkeeper Kody Honius and some unlucky breaks by the Tigers kept Marshall's goal total at 1.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Marshall’s Paul Citrowske (5) controls the ball while Worthington’s Andrew Johnson defends during the first half of Tuesday’s Southwest Conference match at Mattke Field at the Regional Event Center.
"I thought we controlled the game most of the way through," said Marshall head coach Pat Johnson, whose team drops to 0-3 overall. "Their coach told me after the game that he thought we played well, well enough to win.
"Our guys gave it a really good effort and it was kind of a heartbreaking loss."
Trevor Johnson put plenty of pressure on the Worthington defense and had a few good looks at goal following his initial score. Fifteen minutes into the match he had another open shot in front of the Worthington goal but Honius had a quick reaction to punch the shot away.
The Trojans tied the match at one in the 18th minute when Marshall goalkeeper Sathira Wijesekara was unable to punch away a cross and Worthington's Josh Kleve poked in a goal from in front of the net.
As the teams made their way through the second half it seemed as if the game would likely end in a draw, but Meza connected on a strike from distance with 4 minutes, 45 seconds remaining to break the tie. He added another long-range goal just 30 seconds later to seal the victory.
Pat Johnson said a couple of standout performers on his team in the losing effort came from Josiah Hulsizer on defense and Megan Vogl, who had some nice moves with the ball in the second half that set up scoring chances.
But at the end of the match, it was still a difficult loss to swallow for the Tigers.
"We could have easily been up 2-0 at the half, we were playing that well," Pat Johnson said. "But we're coming on and the kids are learning to play together."
The Tigers get back on the field Thursday for a non-conference match against Central Minnesota Christian in Prinsburg.