By Sean Ditmore/Staff Writer
The Wayland Pioneers’ 5-1 loss to John Brown’s Golden Eagles at Hilliard Field on Sept. 28 offered a clear picture of what has proven to be the Pioneers’ Achilles heel this inaugural season — not a lack of talent or effort, but a lack of players.
For the first 55 minutes of the game the Pioneers, already down a player, were able to hold the match to a 1-1 tie. Then fatigue reared its ugly head and exposed Wayland’s numerical inferiority.
A goal by Golden Eagle Freshman Robyn Cluka during the 56th minute of the game marked the first of four unanswered Golden Eagle scores to finish the match.
The Pioneers had already suffered a setback when early in the game freshman midfielder Kelly Abrego was hurt after a fall. She eventually departed by ambulance, but would later return to the sidelines on crutches.
“When you’re playing with such a short bench, then lose a player to injury early, it takes a toll,” Posey said.
It could have been worse though, but Abrego’s replacement freshman Maggie Mitchell played effectively and scored the team’s lone goal when she put a header past the JBU goalkeeper in the 50th minute of play.
Ironically, Mitchell was competing for the first time after being absent with a broken wrist.
On the whole, Shiloh Posey, Wayland’s Head Coach, came away encouraged by his team’s effort.
“Everyone on the team tried their best, but fatigue just caught up with us,” Posey said.
The loss dropped the Pioneers to 2-8 overall and 0-4 in conference play.
The soccer team continued to struggle on the road, losing 10-0 last Monday at Southern Nazarene University.