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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Soccer team moves into first place in C-USA

The Cougars took care of business, clinching a spot in the Conference USA tournament and climbing back atop the

Senior forward Lauri Bryne (7) and the Cougars will battle to secure their position at the top of Conference USA as they hit the road to face UAB on Friday. | Daily Cougar File Photo

conference standings with weekend victories over East Carolina and Marshall at home.

“We’re not really concerned with what place we are, who wins and who loses,” head coach Susan Bush said. “We’re really concerned with taking care of our business on the field. It was Senior Day, and I think that they’re just determined to get on the map and to get to the tournament.”

The Cougars pulled off a 2-0 victory against Marshall on Sunday to tie the program record for most overall victories in a season. It was a very physical match that had the Herd picking up two yellow cards and one red, but the Cougars prevailed with goals from freshmen Fabi Cirino and Kylie Cook. It was Cirino’s first goal of the season and Cook’s third.

The Cougars’ freshman class has contributed to their success.

“It’s taken a while to change the culture of the team, and we’re definitely getting there,” Bush said. “I think our huge freshman class and the youth to our team has added a lot to changing our culture, and I think we have some great leadership from our seniors and our upperclassmen. We’re taking big strides. There are obviously still things to improve on, and we’re getting there each week.”

Cami Koski made three saves in the Cougars’ win en route to notching her seventh shutout of the season, breaking the single-season record of six previously held by Shelby Scott.

“I think Cami’s playing out of her mind,” Bush said. “I also attribute that to the whole team defensive effort. We’ve had to make some changes on our backline, and some players have stepped up huge for us who have never played on the backline before. Our whole team’s mentality of winning the ball back and getting behind the ball has really helped Cami have a great season.”

Cook and senior Lauri Byrne both scored in Friday’s victory over East Carolina. Byrne’s goal was her seventh of the season and gave her sole possession of fifth place on the Cougars all-time goals list with 14.

“I made a personal goal for myself to have no less than seven goals,” Byrne said. “Usually, I score two or three a year, and that’s just not good enough. I set my standards higher this year. I got my goal, so I’m going to try to keep scoring for my team – be the No. 1 goal scorer. That’s my goal.”

The Cougars will try to stay ahead of the pack when they hit the road this weekend to face UAB on Friday and Memphis on Saturday.

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