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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Soccer

Cougars travel to California for two game road trip


If the Cougars win the next game, it will be the team’s longest winning streak since 2015 when it won three in a row early in the season. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

Houston will be heading to the Golden Coast to face California Baptist and UC Riverside over the weekend.

The Cougars are riding a two-game win streak from shutout wins against Prairie View A&M and Incarnate Word while scoring seven goals against them.

Should it continue its hot streak with another win, the streak will be the team’s longest under head coach Diego Bocanegra and its longest since the 2015 season.

UH will find comfort in the fact that CBU, who the team faces on Friday, is only in its first year of Division I play. So far, the Lancers have won two of its three games and have scored two goals on the season.

Statistically, UH is much more dominant on both sides of the ball compared to its opponent. In both teams’ first three games, Houston recorded 20 more shots and three more saves compared to its counterparts from suburban Los Angeles.

UC Riverside will prove to be a tougher opponent for UH. It is on an impressive streak of its own —three straight wins in 2018 and five straight wins overall going back into last year.

The Highlanders have been dangerous offensively and defensively in 2018. All three of the team’s games played so far have been shutouts, and senior midfielder Madeline Feist has scored two goals, both game winners, and tallied two assists to go along with them.

Feist’s game-winning goals during UC Riverside’s opening weekend earned her the Big West Offensive Player of the Week Award.

The Cougars are looking to even up the all-time series against the Highlanders after UCR took a 1–0–0 lead with a 3–0 win in 2016.

One Cougar in particular will also be chasing a record on her team’s journey out west.

Junior forward Desiree Bowen, whose 13 goals have her tied at eighth on UH’s all-time scoring list, must find the back of the net only two more times before stepping up to the sixth spot.

Bowen was the team’s top goal scorer in 2016, but she sat out to focus on her studies last year. Since coming back to the team this season, she has been on fire. In 2018, so far Bowen has scored two goals on 13 shots.

Houston should have the advantage against both of its Golden State opponents, and now that sophomore forward Jazmin Grant is back, the odds are even better.

Grant returned to the team against PVAMU after an injury kept her out of the first couple games. She is expected to play with limited minutes, as she has against Prairie View and Incarnate Word.

Grant’s absence didn’t go unnoticed in the Houston Baptist and Lamar games. The Cougars’ offense went scoreless in the first two games without Grant, but upon her return she took five shots and scored her first goal of the season in the last two games.

The team will face CBU Friday and UCR Sunday. Houston will return to the Carl Lewis Complex to play Sam Houston State on Sept. 7.

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