PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Iona College men's soccer team lost to La Salle in its season-opener on Friday night, 2-1. Lenworth Lopez scored his first goal of the season to notch the score at one, but Iona's lead was short-lived as the Explorers found the game winning goal just minutes later.
The Gaels had two corner kick chances in the first 15 minutes of the match, but could not put home a shot. Freshman Ignacio Antequera-Sanchez put the first pass from the corner on net, but it was saved.
Goalkeeper Giuliano Santucci saved the first shot he faced, the only one that he faced in the first half of action. Josh Plimpton, Francesc Chulia and Jon Paul Fernandez all fired shots in the first 45 minutes, but only Fernandez's try made its way on net. Both teams ended the half scoreless.
Iona had shot attempts from Najim Romero and Eimantas Lotuzys in a 24-second span early in the second half, but both were off the mark. Just over a minute later, La Salle's Colin Bateman broke a scoreless tie as he put a shot past Santucci in the 55thminute.
Romero would fire away on two more chances, but still could come up with nothing for the Maroon & Gold. Finally, in the 75thminute, Iona took advantage of a La Salle turnover in the midfield as Romero fed the ball ahead to Lopez, who skipped one past the keeper to tie the match at 1-1.
Three minutes later, Santucci came out far off the backline to try and get his hands on a long pass, he collided with an Explorer and the rebound was put home to make it 2-1 in favor of La Salle.
Esad Mackic and Plimpton would force goalkeeper Brett Werner to make saves in the waning minutes, but time ran out as the Gaels fell to La Salle on Friday night.
Iona returns to action next Friday night at 7 PM as they travel to take on the University of Vermont.
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