St. Louis, Mo. - Fontbonne University men's soccer opened 2016 play at home today against Illinois Wesleyan University. After a strong offensive start, the Griffins suffered a 3-0 loss to the Titans with one goal on a penalty shot and another a free kick right outside the box. Fontbonne travels to California this weekend to play at Chapman University Friday and the University of the Redlands Sunday.
Just 11 minutes into the game, Fontbonne fans were on the edge of their seat as the Griffins received a free kick near their 45-yard line and sent it directly into the middle of the box for Marc Roellig who was all alone, however the sophomore headed the ball left of the goal.
Jordan Alberici saved an IWU free kick attempt eight minutes later. At the end of the 32nd minute, Fontbonne's Matt Rapisardo found the ball off a rebound about 30 yards out and sent a screaming lazer on the ground that nailed the post and deflected away from the goal. Not even a minute later, IWU's Justin Yaeger was caught up in the box by Alberici and Alex Smith. He would end up with the game-winning penalty shot. Yaeger then assisted Joey Delbert's goal as the Titans finished the first half with a two-goal margin.
Senior Austin Willenbrock kept the IWU offense at bay with multiple slides to disrupt wide open players charging down the field. Freshman Nick Nelson was removed from the game early in the second half and was sent to the hospital after he received a significant upper-body injury and needed stitches.
Fontbonne was awarded a free kick in the 73rd minute about 25 yards out from the right post. Junior Alex Phillips was robbed of a beautiful shot that curved around the left of IWU's wall and near the left post when goalkeeper Alex Ruckstaetter dove and got a glove on the ball to ensure his team's first shutout of the season.
IWU scored their final goal in the 78th minute on a free kick right outside the box.
It was a chippy first day of the season as IWU totaled 24 fouls and Fontbonnne 18 as the teams combined for 42 fouls.
Fontbonne's next home game is Saturday, Sept. 10th vs. Millikin at 8pm.