The University of Rhode Island Men's Soccer team finally got their 2021 season underway last night in Kingstown, RI at the URI Soccer Complex. The Rams took to the pitch against a perennial NCAA tournament side in the Hofstra Pride. A gut check first match for the Rams saw the Pride need just 11 minutes to place one in the back of the net as a Storm Strongin placed a strong cross into the box that was headed home by Matthew Vowinkel and the Pride were off and running. The Rams defense checked in for the next 20 minutes and stymied the offensive attack as GK Stefan Schmidt, who due to Covid-19 and being an international player, has not been on campus in over a year, made some key stops. The Pride, however, would figure out the shift that had occurred and get their brace in the 32nd minute on a tight angle finish from Jason Ramirez. For the Rams, they were able to close the door on the Pride in the 2nd half, allowing no more goals to be scored and having multiple chances themselves to sneak one past Wessel Speel and perhaps level the game. The Rams left a number of opportunities open on the back post with Speel drawn but couldn't find the run to get there seeing 7 of their 12 shots head wide. Coach Gareth Elliott, after the match said "Hofstra played us really well in the midfield and forced us to go direct on a lot of first balls and second balls more than we would have liked." He credited that to the nature of the veteran status of the team, something to which he credited as well to his own players who he expects to see step up even further as a few injuries will settle out soon giving the Rams a full bench. Forward Patrick Agyemang said "they dominated us through the air and physically and played 90 minutes better than us, but as for our next match against CCSU, we're going to come out strong, I know our team is going to come out strong and dominate, we don't lose two times in a row." Midfielder Kevin Castaneda said "we need to start from the first 5 minutes, we need to keep our communication and be positive with each other, we're getting along well and have a great team, we can compete for an A10 Championship."
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