Cougars qualify for AAC tournament amidst 2-3 loss to SMU
The Cougars suffered a 2-3 defeat from in-state rival Mustangs in their season finale, Thursday night in Dallas.
Despite the loss, Houston qualified for the American Athletic Conference tournament for the first time in the program’s history.
The Cougars advance to the tournament, which begins on Sunday, as the sixth seed and will face UCF, who is third in the conference.
In the Texas-rival matchup, Houston was first on the board after senior forward Desiree Bowen and sophomore defender Emma Clarke assisted freshman midfielder Madison Gear, who scored inside 23 minutes.
Foul after foul, shot by shot, the Cougars fought to maintain their lead against the Mustangs and by the end of the first half, the Cougars were up 1-0.
Houston attempted six shots in the first half, which was met by SMU’s seven. The Cougars managed four saves to the Mustangs’ three, but Houston also had five fouls compared to SMU’s three in the first half.
The second half continued with Houston fighting just as hard as the first.
Senior goalkeeper, Samantha Cude blocked a shot from the Mustangs in the 56-minute mark, but just three seconds later, the Mustangs attempted another shot that met the net and put them on the board.
The Mustangs and the Cougars were tied 1-1 for 11 minutes before the Mustangs turned the tides in their favor.
After a foul by senior defender Julissa DePaoli, the Mustangs scored their second goal of the night from a penalty kick, giving them a one-point lead over the Cougars.
After a corner kick and an assist, the Mustangs scored their third and final goal against the Cougars within the 83-minute mark, giving them a 3-1 lead.
Down by two, the Cougars continued to fight throughout the second half and with 3 minutes left in the game, junior forward Jazmin Grant scored the Cougars’ final goal, assisted by senior defender and midfielder, Lauren Flowers.
The second half ended with six attempted shots from the Cougars, three that were saved by the Mustangs’ goalkeeper.
Houston committed nine fouls in the second half, which totaled to 14 for the game and contributed to the one penalty kick goal for SMU.
On Sunday Houston will travel to Orlando to face UCF, who has a conference record of 5-2-2, with hopes to continue on in the AAC tournament.