The third time wasn’t a charm.
Southland Conference opponent Southeastern Louisiana pulled off a 1-0 overtime goal in the 100th minute to give Sam Houston State soccer its fourth overtime loss in conference play and third overtime loss at home. And again the opposing goal came from a cross on the right side to the goal.
All 11 Bearkats on the field made their way to defend the Lions’ corner, but as the ball bounced freely around inside the box freshman midfielder Amber Lasher bashed the ball into the back of the net to give the Lions the game.
But contrary to the first four overtime losses, Sunday’s goal didn’t leave the team or the fans silenced.
After the goal was confirmed, the Bearkats were quick to argue with the referee that sophomore goalkeeper Kylie Hambleton was being held to the ground by a Lions’ attacker – and the Bearkats had every right to be upset.
Questionable calls have troubled the Bearkats’ loss in each of their three overtime losses at home. Despite official judgment, the loss didn’t reflect the hard-fought game an injured SHSU defense performed.
Senior midfielder Tricia Mallory had to drop back and play as the other centerback to freshman Megan Bennett after injuries kept the starter, sophomore Colby Glover, and her back up, freshman Miriah Hadley, out of the game. The duo of Mallory and Bennett synced their coverage as they were able to hold SLU power forwards Casey Peacock and Kelsey Salcido to only two shots.
“It was communication and focus the whole time,” Bennett said. “You have to have that drive to not let them turn you and not let them get behind you and you have to have that motivation to not let them get past you.”
The defense came off a 2-0 shutout performance versus Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Friday night. Mallory scored the first goal against the Islanders to put her one goal away from tying Raquel Bueno at 27 goals for most goals in SHSU history.
“I thanked [Mallory] before the game for being a program changer,” SHSU head coach Tom Brown said. “That’s what she’s been during her time here. When she came in here she believed in a program that hadn’t really done a whole lot.”
SHSU controlled possession early in the first half and continued through halftime.
Mariah Titus added the other goal to continue her surge as this season’s leading Bearkat scorer.
But for the second week in a row, SHSU was not able to complete the weekend sweep.
After Sunday’s loss, Brown told his squad to remember the nostalgic feeling of losing in overtime heading into their next Southland Conference match against Houston Baptist.
“I told them ‘remember this feeling of how you feel now and be determined as a group that we don’t want to feel this way again,'” Brown said.
SHSU travels to Houston Friday to HBU and then heads eastward to close out the regular season Sunday against Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La.