Cougars look to stop skid at home

The UH soccer team will attempt to salvage the last two contests of a five-game home stand this weekend against Tulsa at 7 p.m. Friday and Southern Methodist at 1 p.m. Sunday at Robertson Stadium.

The Cougars (4-5-0, 0-2 C-USA) went on a four-game win streak after dropping their season-opener against UTSA, but have lost their last four games. Each Cougar loss this year has been by 1 point, including last Sunday’s game against East Carolina. Houston outshot ECU 12 to 8, but ECU senior forward Blair Heffner scored the only goal to give the Pirates the win.

"Everyone is playing really hard, but we’re struggling to put the ball in the back of the net," head coach Susan Bush said.

UH continues conference play this weekend, and if history is any indicator, soccer fans won’t want to miss it when conference rival Tulsa (6-4-1, 1-1 C-USA) comes to town. The Cougars are 2-0-1 against the Golden Hurricane, but all three meetings have ended in double-overtime. The Golden Hurricane blows into Robertson Friday with an offense that boasts two 10-goal wins this season. "Tulsa has a great program and strong team, but in this conference any team can win any game at any time," Bush said.

Houston’s close losses have not been for lack of opportunity. The Cougars have outshot their opponents in three of their last four losses. Houston is confident in their style of play, but Bush knows at the end of the game all that matters is the scoreboard.

"We’ve been doing a good job of playing our style," Bush said. "Eventually we have to start scoring goals, though, so we’ve been practicing finishing in the final third."

Sunday’s game against SMU is the Cougar’s last at home before loading up for a four-game road trip. Taming the Mustangs has proven too tall a task for UH in the past, as the Cougars are 0-8 all-time against SMU. Mustang sophomore forward Lauren Shepherd comes to Houston as the Co-C-USA Player of the Week after scoring last week’s game winner to hand UTEP (8-3, 1-1 C-USA) its first conference loss.

Senior forward Christine Nieva is expected to return from injury this week and may give Houston what they’ve been missing up front and hand SMU its first loss to the Cougars.

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