The Spring Hill College men's soccer team opened the 2013 Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) schedule on Friday afternoon at Library Field with a 3-2 loss to the 2nd ranked Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) Hornets.
The Hornets (5-0-1, 1-0 SSAC) opened the scoring the in the 42nd minute of play with a goal by James Harris following a good play by SHC goalkeeper Jacob Files in which he cleanly took the ball off the foot of a charging Ahmed Zaky, but lost control of the ball straight to Harris' feet.
The Badgers rebounded in the second half when Dylan Gardner lifted a shot from 25 yards out that caught the crossbar and bounced out to junior forward Tyler Hartlage for the easy tying goal from three yards away.
SPSU answered with goals in the 65th and 69th minute when Kirk De Boer headed in a free kick by Harris from the left side and then Harris also found Zaky open for a third goal by the Hornets.
SHC refused to quit, however, and Nick Smith would make it a 3-2 game with 23 minutes remaining when he belted in a sliding goal off a free kick by Mario Escalante from 30 yards away. Two corner kicks in the final minute of play both came up empty for the Badger in the end as SPSU held on for the opening conference win.
Files made two saves on the day against 13 SPSU shots while Charlie Deloatche made five saves on the other end against 15 Badger attempts. SHC took five corner kicks in the contest while the Hornets took four tries from the angles.
Spring Hill (3-4, 0-1 SSAC) will continue conference play on Saturday with a match versus the Barons of Brewton-Parker College (3-3, 0-1 SSAC) at Library Field beginning at 4 p.m.