Houston defeats Tulsa to move to second in conference
Houston defeated sixth placed Tulsa on Sunday afternoon and was able to improve its conference record to 3-2-1 and take second place in the American Athletic Conference.
The match opened to a highly contested fight over the possession of the ball in the midfield. The first offensive play came from Tulsa when its player rushed down the left flank and sent in a cross. Tulsa took a shot, but it was deflected, which resulted in a simple save from senior goalkeeper Rachel Estopare.
Afterward, the game started to test both team’s defensive lines. Both ends had to stay alert to long passes and subsequently be able to clear the danger. Seven minutes in, Houston found some space down Tulsa’ left flank in Tulsa territory.
But history repeated itself and sophomore goalkeeper Mica Mackay made an easy save for Tulsa off of a weak header.
The majority of the attacks from both teams came from stretching the play out toward the wings. However, both teams struggled to find that final clinical cross to lead to a meaningful shot on the goal.
That would be the story for the rest of the first half as both Houston and Tulsa found it difficult to find that probing pass in the opposition’s penalty box to provide the catalyst to break the tie.
The opening minutes of the second half saw the Cougars mount pressure on the Hurricanes’ end of the pitch. Houston began to rack up its corner kick count, but that lethal connection eluded them.
However, after a brief spell of dominion by Houston, Tulsa managed to flip possession of the ball in its favor and squeeze in a counter attack. In minute 54, a great sliding block by Estopare just managed to stop a potential goal.
The deadlock was finally broken shortly after minute 58 from a Houston breakaway. A well-placed shot by junior Kaitlyn Wild left Tulsa’s keeper grasping at air as the ball found its way into the back of the net for a 1-0 Houston lead.
In minute 70, sophomore Jazmin Grant ran down the right wing and passed the ball that went wanting into the middle of the box, with no Cougars to connect a shot.
After continued domination over possession, the Cougars earned a penalty kick in minute 81. Sophomore Olivia Lee took to the spot and shot into the net to double the lead.
From then on, Houston was able to comfortably see out the match for a 2-0 victory over Tulsa.
With three games remaining until the conference championship, the Cougars’ fate is still in its hands. Houston’s next game is on the road against third place South Florida on Thursday.