Early Lead Not Enough in Loss to No. 17 Mars Hill

Early Lead Not Enough in Loss to No. 17 Mars Hill
King broke out to an early 1-0 lead by Luis Alonso but No. 17 Mars Hill struck back with four goals in the second half in a 5-1 loss, Saturday evening.

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Luis Alonso scored King's first goal of the season to take an early 1-0 lead over the 17th-best team in NCAA Division II but the Lions of Mars Hill College scored four times in the second half to take a 5-1 decision over the Tornado in their home opener on Saturday evening.

Box score (PDF)

Alonso, a sophomore from Atlanta, Ga., put the Tornado on the board in the eighth minute of the contest when freshman Ashkan Balooch (Nashville, Tenn.) fed him a perfect pass up the middle of the field leading to a strong strike off of his right foot to find the back of the net. The goal was Alonso's first of the season as well as the Tornado's, taking an early 1-0 lead over the Lions.

At 21:35, MHC's Stephen Bivens knotted the game at one goal each when a battle up the right side of the pitch put the ball in the Lions hands. Felipe Ferraro fed Bivens a pass up the middle that led to a one-on-one opportunity against King keeper Cameron Sauro (Owen Sound, Ontario). Bivens won the battled with a strike to the right side, tying the game 1-1.

Despite being outshot 14-2 in the first half, King fought tough with the Lions and took a tie game into the half. However, Mars Hill went on the score four times in the second half against the Tornado's reserve goalkeeper, Tyler Reed (Alcoa, Tenn.).

After a collision in the box forced starting goalkeeper Cameron Sauro out of the match, Reed came in and immediately made a diving save to keep the game tied. Mars Hill applied additional pressure and in the 62nd minute took back a lead they did not give back.

Ferraro entered the score column for the second time in the day when he scored on a goal where Reed challenged him up the middle, but Ferraro's angle allowed him to tap the ball into the right side of the cage for a 2-1 lead. Shadi Harb added to the lead when his shot off of a free kick hit the left post and caromed into the goal for a two-score lead. Corey Roberts and Craig Carwood each scored the final two Mars Hill goals off of rebound opportunities inside the box, leading to a 5-1 decision.

All four of Mars Hill's second-half goals were scored inside a 7:22 span with the final three coming within 1:10 of time.

Alonso led the Tornado with three shot attempts with his lone shot on goal leading to a score.

Freshman Cameron Sauro made six saves and allowed one goal before leaving the contest due to an injury. Fellow freshman Tyler read made two saves in 32:41 of time between the posts.

King (0-2) will play Lynn University on Monday, Sept. 3 at Parks Field in their next contest. Lynn will serve as their second consecutive nationally-ranked opponent in as many contests. The Fighting Knights were ranked No. 2 in the country in the preseason National Soccer Coaches of Association of America (NSCAA), released on Aug. 7. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.