The UCA women’s soccer team defeated the Nicholls State Colonels 2-1 in their home conference opener on Friday.
After winning their first conference game, the Bears conference record stands at 1-0-0. Their loss to the Southeastern Louisiana Lady Lions puts them at 1-1 in conference.
In the first minute of play, Bears freshman forward Cassie Lange went on a fast-break, but the ball was defended by the Colonels and rolled out of the goalie box. Bears sophomore midfielder Kristin Pollard kicked it back to Lange with the goal wide open, but it was blocked by the Colonels defenders.
The first period went by without either team scoring a goal, but several shots were made by both teams. In the 41st minute of play, there was a scramble in front of the goal during which the Bears had several opportunities to score, but the Colonels successfully defended.
Bears coach Tina Banham said she didn’t think the team played very well in the first period, but they talked during halftime and worked out some of the problems they were having.
“We came out in the second half and we dominated,” she said.
She said she didn’t feel like the team did a great job with the ball in the air so in the second period they tried to play a lot more possession. She said the team did well for their first conference game.
“We have a lot of depth in our team and I think that’s what helps us win games,” she said.
During the second period, Lange took a shot from 10 yards out, but Colonels senior goalkeeper Molly Mersereau deflected it to the right. Bears freshman midfielder Vanessa Randall got the ball off of the deflection and shot it off the ground into the left corner to get the Bears their first goal of the game.
The Colonels’ senior midfielder Sam Etherington had a corner kick, but sophomore midfielder Abigail Hodgson headed it out of the goal. Then, Pollard had a header but the Colonel’s goalkeeper got the save.
The second goal for the Bears came when Pollard scored off of a fast-break from junior midfielder Carrissa Rossi straight ahead and past the Colonel’s goalkeeper. After the 85th minute of play, the score was 2-0.
Shortly after the Bears scored their second goal, Missy McGuire scored the first goal for the Colonels, which was unassisted. The Bears were able to play more aggressively in the second period and get the win.
Pollard said she thought the first half didn’t go well because they gave the ball up a lot, but they executed all the plans they made during half time and got the win. She said they played more as a team and had more definite shape during the second half and that’s what helped them, but she said the team should have made more shots overall.
“We need to be more focused in the next game [against Southeastern Louisiana],” Pollard said. “We’re going to have to work more as a team to get the win off.”