OSKALOOSA — The home opener for the Statesmen did not go as planned despite a 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game. The Mustangs of Morningside played their way back into the game and despite some spirited attacks by the home side, William Penn fell by a final score of 2-1. The team is now 0-2 on the season.
With a wet pitch on hand, the navy and gold kicked off their first game of the year at Drost field and soon capitalized on a mistake by Morningside. A foul allowed Samuel Marchi (Jr., London, England) to place the ball on the grass and he quickly booted it down the field. The perfectly weighted pass fell to Kenedy Deviska (Jr., Pignon, Haiti) who put it in the net to the left of the goalie. Just a couple minutes in and William Penn was up 1-0 and they continued to control the pace.
Milton Magana (Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.) had a shot saved a few minutes later and a few more shots would fly for WPU over the next few minutes. It was happily quiet for Jernya Osacr (So., St John's, Antigua and Barbuda) as his team kept the Mustangs on the back foot.
Nick Serrano (Jr., Inglewood, Calif.) picked up a yellow card 28 minutes into the contest and the visitors quickly whipped in a couple corners in a row but could not get anything past the defense. But Morningside began to pick up their game and they racked up five shots as the first half came to a close. Marchi was given a yellow card as was Shalon Knight (Jr., Swetes Village, Antigua and Barbuda) in the final four minutes of play.
Coming out of the break, WPU had been outshot but they had kept a potent offense at bay and had generated a number of chances. The second half kicked off and William Penn committed a foul. In an almost similar situation to how WPU scored, the Mustangs arranged their play and their leading goal scorer from last year leveled things at 1-1.
The Statesmen responded by taking the next couple of shots as Hidenobu Inoue (Jr., Yamaguchi, Japan) and Serrano each fired away. William Thyer (Jr., Bridgend, Wales) just missed a volley off a rebound on a corner kick and the set throw-in plays were confusing the defense of the Mustangs.
The navy and gold started to feel the pressure and it would further mount as Marchi was given a second yellow card which turned into a red. Down a man, the Statesmen valiantly held on. When they could, they would use the throw-in plays to generate offense but with ten men, it was hard for the squad to come up the field.
A foul by WPU set the Mustangs just outside the box with a free kick. The shot was picture perfect and there was nothing Jernya Oscar (So., St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda) could do and Morningside took the lead in the 80th minute. Luke Andrews (Jr., Andover, England) had one final go off a corner kick but the shot missed. Nothing else could be managed and the Statesmen dropped their second in a row.
Magana led the team with four shots and Deviska led the team with two shots on target. Oscar made nine saves in the losing effort.
"The boys beat themselves tonight," said Head Coach Simon Brown. "We didn't take our chances when we had the momentum and poor defending and decision-making cost us goals and the game. We can't give away 20 shots and expect to keep a clean sheet. We have a lot of work to do before we start conference play on Wednesday, which increases the intensity up again."
Next Game: Heart of America Athletic Conference play kicks off away to Culver-Stockton on Wednesday in Canton, Mo., at 7:30 p.m.