By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Risers were hoping some home cooking would help erase the disappointment of their tough road trip a couple weeks ago.

The Risers traveled to Iowa in December to play a solid Demon Hawks squad, but came away with a pair of difficult losses of 15-5 and 11-2 margins to fall to 1-2 overall on the season.

Muskegon returned home to play the other Iowa squad, the Raptors, and failed to remain perfect at Trinity Health Arena as they fell 12-5 on Saturday night.

The Risers are now 1-3 on the season, good for three points and a third-place tie in the North Division of the Major Arena Soccer League 2.

Muskegon will return to action for a pair of home games starting Jan. 19 against the St. Louis Ambush 2 squad, the team they defeated in its home opener back on December 9.

“The first half was ok,” said Risers’ coach Michael Vollmer. “We weren’t there mentally during the second half, but the physicality was there. We gained a little composure, but it’s on us to figure this out. Now we need to worry about matching the mental toughness when things don’t go our way.”

Both teams failed to score during the first quarter of play. The Risers had the lone first-quarter man advantage and failed to connect.

The Raptors opened the scoring 1:57 into the second quarter with a goal from Bobby Hurwitz.

Muskegon quickly responded 14 seconds later to tie the game on a goal by Taylor Pill.

The game remained tied until late in the first half.

The Risers were given a blue card and were shorthanded at the 12:25 mark of the second quarter. The Raptors connected with the man advantage 13:24 into the stanza as Hurwitz scored his second of the contest to give Iowa the lead, 2-1.

The Raptors held a 2-1 advantage heading to the locker rooms at the half.

Iowa came out of the locker rooms on fire and outscored the Risers 6-0 in the 15-minute quarter. Nico Williams scored a pair of goals 2:07 and 4:58 into the quarter to increase the Raptors lead to 4-1. Hurwitz added his third goal of the contest at 9:56 to give Iowa a 5-1 advantage.

The flood gates opened late in the quarter as Jake Johnson (13:13), Isaiah Thomas (13:51) and Hussein Mohamed (14:15) each found the back of the net for the Raptors. Iowa led 8-1 heading into the final quarter.

The Risers pulled starting goalkeeper Jake Lofgren for Akani Miyambu for the final 15 minutes.

The Raptors added a fourth-quarter goal at 3:41 off the foot of Aiden Neuman to make it 9-1.

The Risers finally found the back of the net at the 4:02 mark of the fourth quarter with a goal from Jonah Dancer, then scored a power-play goal at 7:45 off the foot of Miguel Flores.

Iowa responded with goals from Angelo Oquendo (9:06) and Hurwitz (13:03) to take an 11-3 lead.

The Risers added a goal 13:21 into the fourth quarter on Dancer’s second goal of the evening.

The Raptors added yet another tally with 45 seconds remaining into the game with a goal from Dawson Swearengen.

Muskegon closed out the scoring with 4 seconds remaining on a goal from Pill.

“The next few games are everything for us,” Vollmer said. “We want to handle our home court and we are also going to need to get an away win and those are hard to get.”