Women’s soccer falls in overtime
The Cougars ended their four-game road trip in Memphis on Sunday against a tough Tiger team, falling 2-1 in overtime. With the loss, the Cougars fall to 5-4-1 on the season and 1-1-0 in conference play.
While the Cougars had done well defensively against Tulsa on Thursday, defensive woes crept up again as Memphis was able to exploit the backline of the Cougars. By the 30th minute, the Tigers had six shots — one on goal — while the Cougars registered only one with zero on goal.
The Cougars were able to translate those defensive troubles into a successful counterattack. In the 34th minute, freshman midfielder Mia Brascia shot the ball into the left side of the goal after a good run and placed pass from sophomore forward Madison Soileau.
At the end of the first half, the Tigers registered 11 shots while Houston registered only three.
Coming into the second half, Memphis continued to push aggressively and challenge the Cougar defense. Early in the half, the Cougars were able to win a couple of corners but didn’t register much offense beyond that.
The Cougars’ backline remained strong for most of the half, blocking shots and booting the ball away from danger, but the game was delayed due to lightning in the area in the 74th minute. After a one-hour-37-minute break, action resumed on the pitch. In the 84th minute, the Tigers offensive barrage paid off as the Cougars gave up a sloppy penalty.
Memphis tied the game 1-1 in the 85th minute after converting the penalty. Full time ended 1-1 as the game was set into overtime.
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to capitalize on the momentum gained from scoring in the final stretch of the second half. Two minutes into overtime, Memphis headed a long pass into the box past the right of goalkeeper Rachel Estopare to win the game.
“I was proud of our team for understanding the game plan and executing it,” said Cougars head coach Diego Bocanegra after the game. “The one hour and 37 minute lightning delay was out of our control and affected us more than we should have allowed it to.”
Though the Cougars lost the game, the team has many good things to take away from the loss. The defensive struggles may remain, but the Cougars have found a way to counterattack well enough to where they are able to control the game and take leads.
Estopare continues to look good; she only had to make three saves on the game thanks to the blocking ability of the backline. Soileau also continues to shine in setting up scoring chances as she notches her fourth assist in three games, giving her six on the season — the most of any Cougar player since 2004.
The Cougars will return to action Thursday, Oct. 5, at home against Central Florida (5-1-1 overall, 1-0-1 AAC). This will be their first home game since Sept. 10. The game starts at 7 p.m.