An electric crowd and home field advantage was not enough for the Pima men’s soccer team to win its first game of pool play in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament.
The Aztecs are playing in Pool D. The winner of that pool will move on to the semifinal match.
The Aztecs were held scoreless in the 2-0 loss to the West Burlington, Iowa, Southeastern Community College Blackhawks at the Kino North Grandstand field.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted,” Pima coach David Cosgrove said. ”We didn’t play very well in front of our home crowd so we’re just gonna have to roll up our sleeves and come back with a better effort tomorrow.”
Pima was pressured early by the front part of Southeastern’s defense and kept on their side of the field for the majority of the first half.
“They’re big and strong and they play very well,” Cosgrove said. ”We were having a bit of a difficulty dealing with their physicality. It took us a while to get our rhythm but, it wasn’t good enough.”
That pressure eventually got to the Pima defense, as Southeastern scored two goals in that half.
The first goal came in the 14th minute of play. Southeastern’s Masahito Okuda knocked the shot in at the top right corner of the net.
The next came 11 minutes later in the 23rd minute. Foslyn Grant was responsible for the second goal of the night.
Southeastern sat back on its defense to ride the rest of the second half.
Pima, 0-1 in pool play, will have a chance to even its record out on Wednesday against No. 4-ranked Cicero (Ill.) Morton College at the Kino North stadium. That match begins at 5:30 p.m.
“We gotta come out with a live urgency,” Cosgrove said. ”Obviously we gotta score some goals. We’re not completely out of it. We’ve got an uphill road for sure but, if we play really well, there’s an opportunity for us tomorrow”.