Salt Lake City, UT- Nearly 680 miles from home, Hope International Men's Soccer opened their season with a 3-0 win over College of Idaho on Friday afternoon. Senior Matthew Howard scored the first and last goal of the neutral site contest. Fellow Senior Zach Hoffer scored the middle goal and assisted on the final goal.
The match was not a shooting fest for either team as the Royals (1-0) took eight shots and the Coyotes (0-1) managed six shots. But HIU was zeroed in with the shots they did take as all eight of their shots were on goal.
Both teams took one shot apiece in the first twenty minutes plus of the match with Freshman Eduardo Zavala putting his first collegiate shot on target forcing a save from the Coyotes' goalkeeper Colin Benham-Marin.
About six and half minutes later, Zavala played a part in the first goal of the season when he led Howard with a pass that sent him past two defenders. Howard then connected with a left footed shot that caromed off the right post and into the net.
Five minutes later ,the Zachs were on the same page when Sophomore Zachary Williams delivered a pass in stride to Hoffer who also found the right side of the net from about 15 yards out.
COI and HIU both put another shot on goal before the half but the score remained 2-0 HIU as the teams headed to the intermission.
Howard started out the second half peppering the goal with two more shots on goal before six minutes had ticked off the clock. Hoffer ripped a left shot off himself but was turned away.
In the 65th minute of the contest, Howard and Hoffer worked their give and go magic to perfection. Howard fed Hoffer who immediately returned a ball for Howard into the box and Howard was able to reach out and poke the ball into the left corner of the goal.
HIU did not take another shot the rest of the way.
Senior goalkeeper Jhovany Hernandez was credited with a save on two of the final three COI shots to keep the shutout in tack. He finished with three saves for the match.
The Royals will return to action with a rare Sunday match when they finish up their Utah trip against Avila (MO). Kick-off is set for 12:00 pm MST (11:00 am PST).