LEXINGTON, Va. - A late Howard goal by Tyler Hartman with under 15 minutes left in regulation sunk the hopes of VMI men's soccer's first win of the season as the Keydets fell by a 2-1 score to the Bison on a wet Patchin Field Wednesday evening.
Slated for a 4 p.m. start, the match did not get underway until 5 p.m. due to a lightning delay that resulted in wet playing conditions.
Down 1-0 for most of the first half, the Keydets (0-5-2) tied the score at one apiece with just 11 seconds before halftime when freshman Willson Tuck took a cross from Cooper Duplantis and snuck it into the lower right corner of the net for his first career goal as a Keydet. The score was also VMI's third goal of the season, snapping a six-game scoreless streak since David Wright's two goals in the season opener on August 25.
"We are very disappointed with the loss, but happy with the effort," said VMI head coach Michael Bonelli. "The team competed and played very hard. We are getting better each day and it is only a matter of time before this program takes the next step."
The Bison (1-7-0) got up early on the Keydets, scoring their first goal in the game's fourth minute when Austin Williams took a shot that bounced off Keydet freshman Richard Quispe's head and over the outstretched arms of VMI goalie Jon Harrington for a quick 1-0 advantage.
Howard's defensive back line kept VMI at bay in scoring opportunities as the Bison forced six Keydet offsides penalties and allowed just two shots at Howard keeper Carlos Caro. In addition to Tuck's goal, VMI freshman Hector Rivera had a shot attempt for the Keydets.
Despite registering four saves, Harrington picked up the loss for VMI while Howard goalie Caro earned his first win of the season. Andres Gomez led the Bison with five shots as Howard took 19 shots at the VMI net.
The Keydets return to action next Tuesday, Sept. 26, when they begin Southern Conference play at Furman. Kickoff is slated for a 7 p.m. start in Greenville, South Carolina.