Bearkats look to bounce back from sweep this past weekend

After starting the season with historic volume and obtaining an amazing 7-0 winning streak, the Sam Houston State women’s soccer team currently find themselves on the complete opposite.

The Bearkats, so accustomed to winning this season, are on the negative side of a streak that has seen the team lose by a single goal in their last three games, each to Southland Conference teams at home.

The first match of the weekend was Friday night at Pritchett Field against Texas State that extended the drama into the first sudden death overtime for the Bearkats this season.

Although the first half was scoreless, both teams had good opportunities. At the 4:46 mark, Bearkat Raquel Bueno was able to pounce on a rebound in front of the goal, but a line of Bobcat defenders at the goal line helped deflect the point blank shot wide.

All told, Sam Houston would tally seven shots in the first half, causing two saves while Texas State would account for three shots, forcing two saves.

Nonetheless, the Bobcats would draw first blood early in the second half as Andrea Grifo was given the assist as her corner kick was put in by Erica Michaud in the 48th minute.

After numerous chances for Texas State, the home crowd was getting noticeably anxious as time was ticking down in regulation. However, in the 79th minute, a pass by Bueno to fellow Brazilian Luana Miessa gave her an opportunity to dribble through defenders and strike the ball into the opposite corner of the net, evening the match. Bueno was credited with the assist.

With a bit of momentum in the Bearkats favor, they reeled off five shots in less than six minutes with none finding the back of the net, and the game headed to overtime with the score tied 1-1. Texas State was in familiar territory as they headed into their sixth overtime game of the season.

After three minutes of play, Bobcat Lauren Lewis intercepted a pass in Sam Houston territory and when her shot took an odd hop, Bearkat goalie Jenny Pence misplayed it and the ball bounced into the goal for the overtime win.

“I thought after we scored the goal we had good momentum [heading into overtime],” said SHSU Head coach Tom Brown.

“Sometimes that five [minute break] maybe causes it to go down a bit. We just made a mistake in the back and we got punished for it.”

With a weekend road sweep of SHSU and Stephen F. Austin in SLC play, Texas State improved to 9-3-3 with a 5-0-1 conference record that moved them into first place.

In the second contest of the weekend, SHSU fell 1-0 to the University of Texas-San Antonio Sunday afternoon at Pritchett Field.

The Roadrunners would score the only goal of the game in the 22nd minute when Erin Mackay passed to Veronica Najera, who lobbed the ball to a streaking Allison Dillon. Despite a defender giving chase and goalie Jenny Pence charging toward the ball, Dillon was able to shoo the ball in the air, sailing over Pence and into the goal.

Earlier in the game, Dillon attempted a similar maneuver after making a run, but her lob over Pence bounced just wide.

Sam Houston would see a tremendous scoring opportunity in the 24th minute when a cross landed in the middle of the goal box and several SHSU players tried to capitalize. Despite a briefly open goal, every shot and header was turned away.

Despite forcing six saves by goalie Nicoline Joergensen, Sam Houston couldn’t exploit any of their chances, going on to lose the match. Mackay and Najera were credited with an assist on the lone goal.

After the game, Brown stressed that the team fights hard every game and that it gives them a chance to win.

“We’ve got to make some corrections and maybe we’ve become a little bit too predictable. So we’ll look to change a few things up before we go on the road next week.”

The loss drops SHSU to 7-5 and 2-3 in SLC play, while UTSA improved to 7-9 with a 4-2 SLC record.

The Bearkats hope the changes help them to bounce back in conference play as they travel to Northwestern State on Friday and Central Arkansas on Sunday.

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