With a goal in each half, along with a stout defensive effort, Howard opened its season on the right foot Wednesday evening against Reservoir.
The Lions earned a 2-0 victory over the visiting Gators, producing a solid opening effort for a relatively young squad.
"Being the first game, one of the things we talked about was playing our style of game and not worrying about being perfect," Howard coach Nils Schroder said. "The mistakes that we made tonight, we made up for with effort and heart. We did a great job of containing where their shots were coming from and finishing a couple of our opportunities."
Howard (1-0, 1-0) got on the board midway through the first half when Monssef Marakchi won a footrace to the ball against several Reservoir defenders and then proceeded to convert the breakaway goal.
Things were back and forth after that, with both teams generating chances. Both teams had apparent goals waived off, with Reservoir's (0-1, 0-1) potential score negated because of an offside call.
The Gators also had several other chances thwarted by Howard's backline and goalie Brendan Hartlove to preserve the one-goal lead at the time.
Finally, with just a few minutes left in regulation, Howard got some insurance when Henrik Struck finished into the back of the net to make it a two-goal game.
"That game could have gone either way, we may have had a few more chances, but it was definitely back and forth," Schroder said. "That last goal, even though it came with a couple minutes left, it was a big one because it finally gave us some breathing room."
Overall, even though he admitted it was far from a perfect outing, Schroder said the result was something to positive to build upon going into the Meade tournament this weekend.
"I will take a win to start any season and we are still a young team that I fully expect is still going to have some ups and downs as we move forward," he said. "But overall, I think we are just about where we thought we'd be and we are going to be a better team come playoffs in a month or two than we are now."
Howard 2, Reservoir 0
Goals: Ho – Marakchi, Struck.
Assists: Ho – Bruner, Whipple.
Saves: Ho – Hartlove 4; Re – Foley 4.
Wilde Lake 4, Southern 0