In the first match on Friday against Colorado State-Pueblo, Freshman Natalie Pantel’s first collegiate goal was all Sam Houston State needed to defeat Colorado State Pueblo 1-0 on Friday at Pritchett Field. A strong defensive effort by both teams led to a low-scoring affair despite both teams coming off blowout victories.
Of the defensive effort, SHSU head coach Tom Brown said that the “back four probably played the best game that they played as far as trying to stay connected.” He also emphasized the play of SHSU goalie Jenny Pence, saying it’s “not only just the saves that she makes, but I think she talks her way out of some good problems.”
Nearly five minutes into the second half, a pass from Nichole Watkins landed at forward Luana Miessa’s feet near the edge of the goal box. After battling with defenders, Miessa managed to pass the ball to an open Pantel who shot it in past Thunderwolves goalie Chrissy Mandarich.
After the goal, Sam Houston State sat on the lead and closed the game out, but not without drama. At the 59:38 mark, a collision between SHSU’s Britni Martin and CSU-Pueblo’s Sheela Thompson resulted in a yellow card for Thompson as she ended up being helped off the field with a leg injury. At the 90-minute mark, the Bearkats April Lozano drew a yellow card as well.
Sam Houston State continued their record breaking winning streak of three in a row with its third straight shut out over South Alabama.
Scoring within the first three minutes of the game, SHSU kept the pressure as it built its lead before falling back and playing with defense in mind. The offense also proved to be too potent for South Alabama as three different players scored for the Bearkats as they improved to 3-2 overall, the best start in school history.
Raquel Bueno started the scoring for Sam Houston State off with a pass by Luana Miessa at the 2:03 mark to put SHSU up 1-0. Twenty-three minutes later, Bueno would return the favor as she passed to a streaking Miessa who maneuvered the ball over a charging goalie, putting it away into an empty net.
Although the Bearkats led 2-0 by half time, Bearkat head Brown felt that the game was still close. “We talked about that at half time. The next goal was very important, and if it was us going up 3-0, that was huge. If it was 2-1, bang, it’s a game again,” said coach Brown.
At the 61:08 mark, Brittany Foerstner would provide the extra cushion off a rebounded shot by Britni Martin. This would give the Bearkats their 3-0 lead, providing them a chance to sit on it.
“Obviously, as we got up 3-0…we made some changes and some more defensive players wide in the midfield [because] we didn’t need to score any more,” Brown said. “We didn’t want to go forward and get exposed.”
The Bearkat defense proved to be a force for the third game in a row as they continued their school record streak of longest amount of time without allowing a goal. Naturally, part of that streak is due to goalie Jenny Pence’s play. She made eight saves in this game.
Yellow cards were dispensed quite frequently in the match as four different people were carded, including Nichole Watkins and Laera Gattoni of SHSU, and Kelsie Langford and Allie Frakes of South Alabama.
All of the school records set in this game are just the tip of the iceberg for Brown it seems. “We’re going to produce a lot more bests if we keep playing like this,” Brown said.
With the loss, South Alabama’s record falls to 1-4.
The Bearkats hope to keep their winning streak alive after a one week break from games. On Sept. 19th, the Bearkats will put their school records on the line when they host Houston Baptist on Pritchett Field at 7 p.m.