Soccer Sports

Cougars struggle to capitalize on chances in opening weekend

After the losses, head coach Diego Bocanegra said he was confident in the team’s ability to grow and move forward after the early setbacks. | Corbin Ayres / The Cougar

The Houston women’s soccer team dropped a pair of games during a tough opening weekend across town at Houston Baptist and in Beaumont against Lamar.

Both games were stories of missed opportunities as the Cougars out shot both opponents in the losses.

On Friday night against HBU, a penalty in minute 10 gave the Huskies a free kick outside of the box. HBU didn’t let the opportunity go to waste, and sophomore Avery Cortez scored her first goal of the season to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.

HBU struck again in minute 33 when senior Sabriah Spencer, who had been putting pressure on Houston’s back four all game, weaved through defenders and beat the keeper to score.

In minute 64, Cortez scored off a throw-in to earn herself a second goal and put the Huskies up by three goals.

Houston finally managed to convert one of its shots into a goal in minute 74 when sophomore Angela Forthuber scored her first career goal.

The Cougars were unable to score again despite putting a lot of pressure and 18 total shots against the Huskies.

Senior goalkeeper Rachel Estopare made multiple diving saves during the match, but it was not enough to win.

Houston closed out its opening weekend Sunday with a physical 2–0 loss against Lamar that saw the teams commit a combined 25 fouls and three yellow cards.

UH junior forward Desiree Bowen stepped up to the plate offensively in the first half with three shots on goal, but Lamar’s defense did not crack.

Cardinals’ sophomore goalkeeper Jocelyn Hanrath finished the game with seven saves on 16 shots faced.

Lamar senior forward Kelso Peskin scored off a header in minute 19 to put the Cougars on the back foot early.

Houston had several chances to score afterward, including back-to-back shots, but came up with nothing to show for it.

The Cougars’ woes continued after Bowen lined up for a penalty kick in minute 30 but came up short, leaving the Cardinals in the lead.

Estopare had a rough first half, but the defense’s improvements in the second relieved some of the pressure put on by the Cardinals.

The second half proved to be even more physical than the first. Lamar committed eight fouls and was given a yellow card to go on top of the one it had in the first.

Despite this, Houston’s offense played better in the second half, continuing to take shots and counter the pressure that Lamar put on its defense.

The Cougars had several shots late in the game, but the Cardinals’ stellar goalkeeper kept it from evening up the score. Houston’s fate was sealed when defensive errors caused an own goal, which give Lamar a 2-0 lead with just seven minutes remaining.

The bright side for the Cougars was the team never stopped putting on pressure and was able to generate chances to score.

The team has 13 freshmen on its roster, meaning it has a lot of room to gain experience and become more poised in its shot taking.

Houston will return to the field at 7:00 p.m. Friday against Prairie View A&M to play its first home game of the season.

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