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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Soccer

Two ties keep UH undefeated over weekend


The soccer squad enjoys a light-hearted moment together in preparation for their upcoming contest against SMU on Friday. | Nikki Taylor/The Daily Cougar

The soccer squad enjoys a light-hearted moment together in preparation for their upcoming contest against SMU on Friday. | Nikki Taylor/The Daily Cougar

UH head soccer coach Chris Pfau vocalized his distress over uncalled fouls Friday and was awarded a yellow card.

“No comments on the refs,” Pfau said.

The first yellow card of the season was thrown out during the Cougar’s first Conference USA game, only a player was not at the receiving end — Pfau was.

Yellow card aside, the game against Southern Methodist University culminated in a 2-2 tie, despite going into double overtime.

“SMU’s been a hard team every year,” said enior forward Katelyn Rhodes. “You never know how things are going to come out. SMU is also going through the same things that we’re going through, they got a new coach, and they’re probably trying to learn new things like we are. It (was) a good way to see where we stand in Conference.”

Rhodes netted the first goal 16 minutes into the first half, a lead which the cougars kept until SMU’s Kenzie Scovill tied two minutes into the second half.

“We did some good things in the first half,” Pfau said. “We came out to compete and we didn’t sit back. The second half we were a little nervous without a lead. It happened (against) Arizona. We let them get on top of us. We have to learn to deal with that. I think we just have to get more games (that) will help us get through that.”

UH takes advantage

In the fifth minute, sophomore forward Kelsey Zamora was taken out by an SMU player and awarded a penalty shot which she turned into a goal. Despite a cluster of Cougar defenders, SMU’s Rikki Clarke managed to get the ball into the net two minutes later and returned the game to a tie.

“I think when we came out after the second half, we were really tired,” Zamora said. “After the second half we could have pressured more. Coach said we weren’t organized but within five minutes, got organized so we could have come out more organized. The ultimate moments were the last two minutes of every half because their offense was pressing ours and our offense was pressing them.”

Regardless of blunders, Pfau said he was content with the outcome of the game.

“We had a couple of chances there to win it but at the end of the day it’s a long conference season and we got a point, you need points,” Pfau said. “We got a point against a very good SMU team and a very well coach.”

Tulsa visits Robertson

For the second consecutive game the Lady Cougars ended in a tie despite double overtime.

“Fridays and Sundays are ugly to begin with,” Pfau said. “It’s a tough turn-around especially going into overtime.”

With even seconds on the clock, Tulsa had procession of the ball. The Cougars raced to the goal box. Tulsa shot. The ball rebounded off a Cougar. Tulsa raced to get it back, just as the buzzer goes off. Game over.

The Cougars have remained undefeated.

Texas heat a factor

The heat, according to senior defender Ciara Slayton, is especially difficult during 1 p.m. games — such as Sunday’s. Even so, Slayton hoped for a better outcome.

“Coming off of a tie on Friday, I feel like we should have come out harder,” Slayton said. “I thought we worked but there’s always more to work on. We kept the ball in the first half and the second half, we always struggle so I felt we could have kept the ball more the second half but we did come out more aggressive (than Friday).”

Cougars shift strategy

In addition to a more aggressive play, the Cougars narrowed their focus on the field and changed their wide-play approach for a more centered one.

“When we play wider we get stretched out which gives them better passed through so coach Pfau wants us to play more compact,” Slayton said.

The team will continue working on keeping ball possession, said assistant coach Suzanne Grech.

“The first half I thought we outplayed them certainly, taking control of the game which gave us a lot of opportunities going forward,” Grech said. “Defensively I think we came out hard. It’s learning to take care of the ball, learning to play feet instead of consistently losing the ball and having to defend.”

According to Grech, the games left her proud of the team.

“Overall, I’m very happy with the weekend,” Grech said. “I would have liked to come out on top obviously but they left it out on the field, two back-to-back games, 110 minutes each is not easy. I’m very proud of them in that sense.”

Next up the Cougars will travel to Orlando to face UCF.

“Going forward I feel very confident,” Grech said. “It’s going to be a tough weekend on the road with UCF and Southern Miss, but I think we can compete with anyone at this point and give them a run for their money.”

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