JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Western Illinois men's soccer was unable to overcome a slow start, falling to North Florida 2-1 in the 2013 season opener at Patton Park on Friday night.
Freshman Diego Lopez scored his first collegiate goal in his debut in Purple & Gold, but Western Illinois starts its season 0-1 nonetheless. The Ospreys open their season with a 1-0 record.
North Florida scored an early goal in the eighth minute, and pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 69th minute.
Just minutes later, Lopez fired a shot into the upper-left corner of the goal past a diving keeper to put the Leathernecks on the board unassisted at the 72:20 mark.
"[We] battled and created several late chances," head coach Dr. Eric Johnson said. "If we can bring the energy we expended in the second half to the first half, we will be okay."
Keeper Yves Dietrich was strong in goal, saving six of the eight shots on goal, including a sliding stop in the 60th minute.
Alex Morrell and Jay Bolt scored for UNF, and Simen Solstad picked up an assist. Brad Sienkiewicz earned the win in net, making three saves.
"[We] went down 2-0 on an unlucky bounce on a counter attack but responded with a very nice goal from Lopez right after," Johnson added. "North Florida has a talented group of players and had a nice game."
Today's match started approximately 50 minutes late due to lightning strikes in the area.
The Leathernecks will look to rebound against Jacksonville at Sunday in a 1 p.m. contest.