Golden Eagles Drop Hard-Fought Season Opener, 5-2

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BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (August 26, 2013) -- Senior midfielder Misha Kolemasov and freshman forward Marco Cardona each netted a goal, but the No. 14 Oklahoma Wesleyan offense was too much as John Brown fell in the 2013 season-opener, 5-2, Monday evening.

"Oklahoma Wesleyan is a solid team," said head coach Scott Marksberry. "You can't make silly defensive mistakes against them. We dug ourselves into a three-goal hole to start the game before we finally settled in.

"Two of the first three goals were silly defensive mistakes. Our guys worked hard to bring the game back to 3-2 with plenty of time left to tie the score. We created some nice chances down 3-2, but never converted. In the final two minutes of the game, we wanted to press for the equalizer. Unfortunately, we gave up two goals in two minutes to end the game. Hopefully we can learn from it and improve for our next games."

Ranked No. 14 in the NAIA's preseason poll, the Eagles started the match pressing the John Brown defense and broke through just three minutes into the match to take a 1-0 lead, converting a corner kick that was capped off inside the Golden Eagle box.

The OKWU pressure continued, as a pretty heel flick fooled the JBU defense, allowing the Eagles to take the two-goal advantage in the 21st minute. Only two minutes later, still looking to find its offensive rhythm, the John Brown defense allowed a chip from the left side to slide in far post, offering the host squad a commanding 3-0 lead.

Realizing the daunting task ahead of them, the Golden Eagles discovered its passing game in the latter minutes of the first half. After sneaking up the right flank from his defensive position, sophomore Will Simonds crossed a ball to a streaking Marco Cardona, who gave a strong strike to the near right post, top corner, placing JBU on the board and handing the Colombian freshman his first collegiate goal.

Energized by its play at the end of the first half, the Golden Eagles came out with strong ball possession leading to a Kolemasov goal from the center of the box. Sophomore forward Zari Prescod beat two defenders down the right side before playing the ball to Kolemasov, who notched his first goal since redshirting last season due to injury.

Senior goalkeeper Pablo Garcia played stellar in net over the final 30 minutes, knocking away five shots in the second half.

The Golden Eagles pressed numerous times, including an odd-man rush that was thwarted by the Oklahoma Wesleyan defense just as Prescod unleashed a shot marked for the corner of the goal. OKWU earned a penalty kick in the final minutes and converted, before landing a final marker with 21 seconds left in the match as John Brown was pressing on the offensive front.

The Eagles fired 22 shots in the match compared to John Brown's eight, while OKWU served 11 corner kicks, limiting the Golden Eagles to only a pair.

Garcia (0-1-0) took the loss in net for JBU, earning five saves in the defeat.

John Brown will now look to regroup this weekend as it travels to western Iowa to face Northwestern (Iowa) and Dordt (Iowa) on its road trip. Games are slated for Friday, Aug. 30, and Saturday, Aug. 31, respectively.

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