The universities of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State University once again renewed their rivalry. For this conference opener, the arena was Intramural Field 3. This match was a rematch of last year’s conference semifinals when Sam Houston upset the then #1 ranked Lady Jacks.
The Lady Jacks enacted their revenge and pulled out a gutsy 2-0 victory on the Bearkats’ home soil.
Using their speed and quick decision-making, SFA was able to control the tempo of the game.
The Kats looked confused for most of the match and SFA was able to capitalize on that opportunity scoring in the 23rd minute.
Sam Houston was forced to play catch up for the remainder of the match.
“We gave away the ball too much,” Coach Marcia Oliveira said. “They were able to score on a confusing play.”
The game was very physical from start to finish. Tempers flared during various phases of the game culminating with a yellow card for Mary MacGregor late in the first half.
Sam Houston (2-8, SLC 0-1) had opportunities for an equalizer. Raquel Bueno had a shot hit the cross bar late in the first half and Yoanna Garcia just missed on a header on a cross from Tofie Chavez in the 57th minute.
While giving up an early goal doesn’t help things, losing three forwards made things even more difficult.
That particular circumstance is what the Kats faced when MacGregor, Bueno and Garcia went down with injuries and had to leave the game.
“Midway through the second half, we lost all our forwards. We had to put our midfielders in as forwards,” Oliveira said. “From that moment on, th match became an uphill battle.”
The Lady Jacks applied pressure on SHSU for the entire 90 minutes of the match. In the 78th minute, Amanda Alders of SFA all but sealed the game when her shot from the top of the penalty box found the back of the Bearkats’ net doubling their lead to two.
“We played hard but we just sat waiting for the ball and they took advantage. We knew coming in they were going to be a difficult team,” Oliveira said.
Stephen F. Austin out shot the Bearkats 17 to nine. Sauceda made eight saves for Sam Houston while Jessica Cotton had five for the Jacks.
The Bearkats look to bounce back against conference foe Nicholls State on Friday in Thibodaux, La.
Sam Houston’s next home game will be against October 1 against Texas State at 1 p.m. on the Intramural Field.