The Pearl River Community College men suffered a 5-2 setback to Itawamba in the 2016 regular-season opener Saturday at the PRCC Sports Complex.
The Wildcats took an early 1-0 lead at 26:18, when Jackson Turner headed in a corner kick from Junior Sanchez.
It was a costly score, however, as Turner and Itawamba defender Bryce Hunt collided on the play. Both players had to leave the game to receive stitches and did not return.
“With low numbers that we’ll have this year, Jackson dropping out of there really hurt us,” said Wildcat coach Drew Gallant. “That was obvious in our play, losing his athleticism in the midfield. We really didn’t have an answer for it at the time.”
Itawamba (1-1) tied it up at 30:21 on a goal by Chase Huddleston, assisted by Luis Garcia, and the Indians took the lead for good with 3:25 to play in the first half as Boston Hampton scored on a pass from Huddleston.
The Indians scored three goals in the second half, two by Michael Kiser, one on a pass from Huddleston and the other from John Gonzales, and Logan Little added an unassisted goal midway through the period.
Anthony Hertzke scored on a pass from West Zimmerman with 7:05 left in the game to give PRCC its second goal of the game. Itawamba had a decided advantage in shots, 23-11, including nine on goal for the Indians.
The Wildcats will return to action Tuesday against William Carey at Hattiesburg, then PRCC will host Mississippi Gulf Coast at 7 p.m. next Friday in their South Division opener.