UH soccer clinches AAC Tournament berth with win over Cincinnati
Following a late score, the Houston soccer team tied its single-season win record and clinched an American Athletic Conference Tournament berth on Sunday afternoon, defeating Cincinnati 2-1 in the final home game of the season.
“I’m relieved. This week is always going to be difficult, between Memphis and Cincinnati, they’re probably two of the most athletic, physical teams, and we had to step up our game,” said UH soccer head coach Diego Bocanegra. “I think a big reason we won today is our fitness levels. I think we wore them down, I think we outworked them.”
The Cougars opened the day scoring in the 39th minute off an assist from sophomore midfielder Madison Gear leading to a goal by redshirt freshman forward Maddie Bowers.
The game remained deadlocked for both teams, despite both teams pressing aggressively, until the 70th minute, where a Cincinnati goal tied the game at 1-1.
It took the Cougars less than ten minutes to regain the lead, with Bowers assisting the go-ahead goal scored by senior forward Natalie Anderson.
Immediately following the Cougars’ second goal of the day, Cincinnati’s head coach and UH senior defender Cassidy Formanek received yellow cards before play resumed.
Despite the Cincinnati attack in the final minutes, the Cougar defense was able to consistently stop the Bearcats attack to secure a 2-1 victory.
Describing just how important the victory was, Bocanegra put into perspective what this means for the rest of the Cougars’ season.
“We are in the playoffs, we’re in the tournament, and hopefully, we just get to keep going with the momentum,” Bocanegra said. “Anytime at the end of the season you get a win, it’s a big deal – and this is a big one. With everything that’s going on in the rest of the league, this is huge.”