The Fort Hays State women's soccer team faced adversity Sunday with tough weather conditions in the form of a strong steady wind gusting up to 40 mph at times. Falling down two goals to a solid Emporia State team did not help as ESU held on for a 2-1 win in the MIAA opener for both squads. The Tigers dropped to 4-3 (0-1) and the Hornets improved to 6-2 (1-0).
The Hornets got on the board fast in the first half going into the strong wind. Emporia State's MacKenzie Dimarco sneaked one by goalkeeper Megan Kneefel, threading the needle low and to the left after a pass from Gaby Crowell. That put the Tigers down 1-0 entering halftime.
The score remained the same until the 72nd minute when ESU's Tanna Benefiel headed a shot in the net off a corner from Joanie Westcoat. ESU looked comfortable with a 2-0 lead until a late push from the Tigers.
The Tigers closed the gap in the 86th minute to make the game interesting. Kailey Corr fouled Emily Reitz in the box and FHSU was awarded a penalty kick. Darby Hirsch stepped up and knocked in her third goal of the season. The Tigers mounted a couple more attacks, but ultimately could not find the equalizer.
FHSU tallied five shots throughout the match, taken by Cailey Perkins, Zariah Smith, Jenna Prince, and Darby Hirsch (2). Emporia State reached 11 shots overall with seven taken by Mackenzie Dimarco.
Megan Kneefel (3-2) saved five of seven Emporia State shots on goal. Jillian Patton (6-2) saved two of three FHSU shots on goal.
The Tigers travel to Edmond, Okla. looking for their first MIAA win against Central Oklahoma. The match is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4.