MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Given how his team performed in its preseason workouts and two scrimmage outings, it’s safe to say that Tuesday’s regular season opener at Mount Vernon Nazarene didn’t turn out the way that Rio Grande head coach Callum Morris envisioned that it would.
“First of all, I’d like to apologize to the parents who were watching today. For the first 80 minutes, we were atrocious,” Morris said. “We looked like we’d never kicked a ball before…like we were still on the bus. We had no cohesion, no passing, no communication - we looked worse than we did in some of our games last year. It was nothing like we’d worked at during the past three weeks of our preseason.”
Mount Vernon’s Casey Apple scored the first of her two goals just over 7-1/2 minutes into the match to give the Cougars a lead they would never relinquish in an eventual 4-1 win over the RedStorm at Cougar Field.
MVNU, which was also playing its season opener, dominated from the outset and finished with a 21-6 edge in shots.
Apple scored off of a through ball by Megan Griffith at the 7:33 mark of the opening half and Brittany Bogantz added another mark just over 22 minutes later off of a corner kick by Allison Paley to give the Cougars a 2-0 halftime lead.
The deficit reached 3-0 for Rio when MVNU’s Dayna Setzler scored off an assist from Jackie Mourne at 59:31 and Apple finished the hosts’ scoring with an unassisted marker at 72:11.
Rio Grande, which slipped to 0-5 all-time against MVNU, avoided a shutout when junior forward Karla Garn (Morrow, OH) scored an unassisted goal with 7:03 left in the contest.
“We scored a goal inside the last 10 minutes. It also happened to be the first time we put three passes together,” said Morris. “It took us 80 minutes to finally put things together. The bad part is the team that just beat us 4-1 lost 3-0 in a scrimmage to the team we’re playing on Saturday. If we don’t turn up with any kind of motivation or enthusiasm, it’s going to be a long hard season for us.”
Lexus Andolino blanked the RedStorm over the first 69:18 before giving way in goal for the Cougars to Lindsey Blue.
Rio junior net-minder Allison Keeney (Cincinnati, OH) recorded four saves in the loss.
“I actually thought Keeney played pretty well,” said Morris. “They’ve had eight or nine goals had it not been for some of the plays she made.”
“No offense to Mount Vernon, but they’re no Lindsey Wilson or Davenport or Cumberland,” Morris added. “This was a real kick in the teeth for us considering how our preseason had gone. We can’t pick and choose when we’re going to play. That’s what makes this so demoralizing.”
The RedStorm return to action on Saturday night when Point Park (Pa.) University visits for the home opener at Evan E. Davis Field.
Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.