By JD Hershberger – Horizon Guest Writer
The Hesston College Men’s soccer team started their season on a flat note, falling to Crowder College 0-3 at home.
You would never have guessed that coming out of the gates, though. Hesston and Crowder played with equal zeal and intensity for the first 15 minutes, both sides fighting for possession and neither side conceding any opportunities.
That came to an abrupt halt, however. Crowder seemed to soon catch their stride and forced the issue deep in Hesston territory. Their aggression paid off in the 19th minute when a Hesston foul in the penalty box gave Crowder a penalty kick, which Danny Collins easily converted for the game’s first goal. The pressure only became more intense and manifested itself in a Crowder goal yet again when Hesston GK Jake Pokorney misjudged a cross, allowing Brantley Gossett to score easily in the 26th minute to put them up 2-0. The goal was controversial as there appeared to be an offside penalty committed by the Riders, but the referee let play continue, eventually leading to the lead-doubling goal.
Hesston would have a prime chance to cut that deficit in the 30th minute when a Will Wyatt free kick turned into a golden opportunity for freshman Fernando Robles. Robles shot from the left side was blocked by Crowder GK Gustav Kennestig and cleared away before a Hesston player could take the rebound.
That would be Hesston’s only shot on goal. Crowder would score again in the 37th minute off the foot of Joe Rice to make the halftime score 3-0.
The second half either featured a defensive revival by the Larks or a more conservative approach by the Riders, but either way the score didn’t change. Crowder’s offense threatened far less often in the final 45, but still out-shot Hesston two to zero, and the shots they got required solid saves from Pokorney. The Larks’ offense never made a serious threat to ruin Crowder’s shutout, and a red card issued to Robles might as well have been the end of Hesston’s offensive chances.
The Larks have had similar luck in their three games since the opener, losing 1-2 to Neosho County CC, 0-6 at Kansas City Kansas CC, and 3-4 to Dallas Christian College. Hesston hopes to score their first win of the season when they face Allen CC in Iola, KS this Wednesday.