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Newcomers Pace Saints in Season Opener

Published: August 24, 2018

Freshmen Aaron Martin and Birgir Thorsteinsson each scored in their collegiate debuts to lead Siena Soccer to a 2-2 draw at Tournament host Houston Baptist in the season opening HBU Invitational. Gianluca Natera scored both goals for the Huskies while registering a match-high 11 shots.


Houston Baptist held a decisive 25-6 advantage in shots, albeit just a 6-3 margin in shots on goal. Nonetheless, freshman goalkeeper Greg Monroe was highly active in his collegiate debut for Siena, and was credited with three saves.


A pair of turnovers in deep led to each team netting a goal apiece within the opening 18 minutes. Natera opened the scoring for the Huskies in the 10th minute, but Martin responded shortly thereafter for the Saints as he intercepted an errant pass at the top of the box and chipped in his first collegiate goal over the keeper and into the vacated net.


Siena rallied to take its first lead of the season in the 37th minute off a perfectly executed set piece. Red-shirt freshman Linus Johansson, who also made his collegiate debut, curled in a free kick from wide left of the box which Thorsteinsson got a piece of to put the Saints on top 2-1.


Siena dug in late but Houston Baptist, which registered 13 of their shots in the second half, netted the equalizer with 6:24 remaining in regulation on a blast off the boot of Natera.


Newcomers accounted for all six of the Saints shots, with reserve Thorsteinsson leading the way with three while Johansson added a pair and Martin made the most of his one.


Siena concludes play in the HBU Invitational Sunday when they face UT Rio Grande Valley at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local time).


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