Weekend results put UH in control of fate

After split results against Marshall and UAB, the Cougars could grab the last spot in the Conference USA Tournament with a win over Rice on Friday. | Aaron Cisneros/The Daily Cougar

UH’s wishes to make the Conference USA tournament are still alive after an up-and-down weekend of play on the road.

The Cougars (6-11-1, 3-6-1 C-USA) opened the weekend with a 2-1 victory over Marshall at Sam Hood Field on Friday. The time for celebration was short-lived, however, as they dropped a 2-0 decision to East Carolina on Sunday at ECU Soccer Stadium.

Sami Sackos was the heroine for the Cougars against Marshall (4-10-3, 2-6-2 C-USA). The sophomore scored both of UH’s goals in the contest and was a force in the attacking third of the pitch. Head coach Susan Bush said she was pleased with the breakout performance.

“Sami played with composure and confidence that we haven’t seen this year,” Bush said. “I’m pleased to have her competing again for us. She is a huge part of our offense.”

The Cougars were outshot 15-14 in the match. Sophomore goalkeeper Sydney George, who started in place of the injured Cami Koski, recorded her second win of the season while notching six saves.

“We had an energy and attitude tonight that you could feel,” Bush said.

“Our team continues to improve and gain momentum.”

The Cougars struggled to replicate Friday’s results against ECU (9-6-1, 4-5-0 C-USA). The Cougars were outshot 22-5 in the game and could not find an offensive spark. They surrendered goals in the first and second half and were unable to establish a presence in their opponent’s territory.

“We definitely lacked a hunger in the final third,” Bush said. “ECU simply out-battled us. They were the better team and they deserved to win.”

The loss puts the Cougars on the outside looking in as they sit one spot out of qualification for the post-season tournament. The top eight teams qualify and UH sits at ninth in the conference with 10 points.

The Cougars return home for their final game of the season as they take on cross-town rival Rice in the season finale on Friday. With a win, the Cougars will advance to the conference tournament at the expense of the Rice squad, who are seventh in the conference standings with 13 points.

Friday’s win-or-go-home showdown with Rice kicks off at 7 p.m.

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