ALISO VIEJO, CA – Hope International got a win against Soka University on Thursday, Aug. 24 to open the 2017 season. The Royals conceded the first goal of the match but were more than able to compensate before the final horn, resulting in a 3-1 victory.
The Lions needed just under six minutes to net the first goal of the match after a deep ball was played behind the Royals' back line and headed home passed Manuel Madrigal for the score. That would be the Lions' lone tally, however, as Coach Joe Lurker's team tightened up on defense afterwards and kept the back to the net clean for the remainder of the match.
On the opposite end of the field, HIU was able to answer back just over 15 minutes later with a strike of their own from Joel Palomares. Palomares was able to take a ball and pin it in the upper corner for the equalizer, and the Royals would take the lead just before halftime.
With both teams fighting for possession, the ball remained between the boxes for the majority of the first half. Altogether, both teams took only seven shots in the opening period, but the Royals were able to make one more count with mere seconds remaining. Pedro Mendoza made his scoring debut for HIU with a strike 11 seconds before halftime to net what proved to be the winning goal and gave HIU a 2-1 lead at the break.
The shots came faster and more frequent in the second half, but most were off-target and not on goal. Madrigal only saw one shot on frame in the second half and made the save before he was eventually replaced by Ryan Brown for the final 20 minutes. Brown was not called on to make a save in his 20 minutes of game action.
The Royals generated six shot attempts in the second half – ten total in the match – and in the 84th minute Jose Hernandez became the third Royal to net a goal for Lurker's squad. Hernandez scored his first collegiate goal with the strike after pushing through the Lions' defense and gave HIU a 3-1 cushion with six minutes remaining, which would end up being the final tally.
Soka scored its first-ever goal against HIU in the match but the Royals remain perfect against the Lions in program history with a 3-0-1 record. HIU now sets its sights on non-conference foe No. 9 Marymount (CA) as the Mariners come to town on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 2:30 pm.