CLEVELAND, Tenn. – The King University men's soccer team opened its season with a hard-fought 1-0 loss at the hands of hosts Lee University at the Lee Olive Garden Invitational on Friday night.
Lee's Austin Waddell netted the lone goal of the night for either team, a shot from the far right wing in the 66th minute that broke what had been a scoreless tie for over an hour of play.
The Tornado (0-1) tried desperately to rally in the contest's final minutes but were unable to come up with the equalizer to send the game to overtime. Kendale Liburd fired a shot from the right side of the penalty area that hit the post in the 88th minute, and Joshua Feener's shot from the left wing sailed high a minute later.
"It was a tough loss for us tonight," said first-year head coach John Miglarese. "Despite a poor second half, we almost tied it on a shot from Kendale with a few minutes left and Feener barely missed as well."
In a game that featured a combined 32 shots, Lee (1-0) was unable to break through the Tornado defense in the first half. Tornado goalkeeper Kari Sveinsson tallied four saves in the first 45 minutes, including three from inside the box, on 12 Flames first half shots. He would finish with six total saves on the night.
"We played a solid first half and created some quality chances that we couldn't capitalize on," said Miglarese. "In all, King had five first half shots, including a blocked attempt and a shot on goal from Chris Hicks."
Lee was the aggressor in the second half, tallying three shots in a two-minute span early in the period and continuing to pressure the Tornado defense. Waddell finally broke through in the 66th minute, striking a fluttering shot that found its way into the upper 90 over an outstretched Sveinsson.
After being given the lead, the Flame defense clamped down as the second half progressed. Lee allowed just three shots after taking the lead, two of which came in the final three minutes of play.
King will experience a quick turnaround, returning to the Lee Olive Garden Invitational at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow to face Shorter University, who fell to defending NCAA Division II national champion and top-ranked Lynn University on Friday by a score of 4-1.