MACOMB, Ill. — The Central Arkansas soccer team matched its win total of last year and began the season 2-0 Sunday with a 1-0 victory against the Western Illinois Leathernecks.



Rain pounded the field most of the match and the Bears played 20 minutes of the second half short-handed because of a red card.

The match’s lone goal came in the 18th minute, when Jaden Hoth fed a pass to Shafial Mason, who blasted the ball toward the goal. The shot was deflected by a Western Illinois defender and past Leatherneck keeper Yves Dietrich for an own goal.

The Leathernecks (0-2-0) took 18 shots, but placed only four on goal against a Central Arkansas defense that refused to break. Patxi Shortsleeve collected four saves while in goal for the Bears, while Dietrich collected eight for the Leathernecks.

The consecutive victories mark the first time that Central Arkansas has won back-to-back games since the 2010 season, and gives the Bears their best road start to a season since 2009. The Bears open their home schedule Friday against Lipscomb University. They then host the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles on Sunday afternoon.