LEXINGTON, Va. - Opening the 2016 campaign on a hot, sunny afternoon, the VMI men's soccer team fell to visiting Longwood University by a 4-0 score Friday at Patchin Field.
The event marked both the season opener and the debut of first-year head coach Michael Bonelli.
VMI kept the match close in the opening half as the teams exchanged shots at the net as the Keydets registered three attempts to 10 for the Lancers. At the 21:52 mark, Longwood's Connor Rea found himself alone in the middle of the box as teammate Eoin O Donovan sailed a cross over the Keydet defenders. Rea shot the ball into the lower right corner to give Longwood what proved to be the game-winning goal.
The Lancers distanced themselves in the second half by outshooting the Keydets by an 11-1 margin and taking four corner kicks to VMI's one over the final 45 minutes.
Five minutes in, O Donovan took a pass at the top of the box and shot the ball at the VMI net. The ball ricocheted off the left post and into the net for a 2-0 Longwood advantage.
Longwood would go on to add two insurance goals in the final 20 minutes as Evan Fowler (69:57) and Max Poelker (81:34) added scores en route to the 4-0 Lancer win.
Lancer goalie Carlos Canas was credited with the win to go to 1-0 on the year while VMI starting goalie Robert Allen picks up the loss. Allen earned five saves in 56 minutes of action before being replaced by fellow sophomore Rives Worsham with 33 minutes remaining. Worsham finished the game with two saves as the pair each surrendered two goals.
The Keydets return to action Tuesday with a home matchup against Liberty at 4 p.m. at Patchin Field.