Bears lose 3-2 to Bearkats off own goal

The Bears women’s soccer team lost their conference opener 3-2 on Oct. 1 in Conway to the Sam Houston State Bearkats after the Bears tied the game in the second half, only to give the Bearkats the win in the final minutes with an own goal.
The Bears had 11 shots throughout the game, six of which were on the goal, while the Bearkats had 18 shots, 11 of which were on the goal. Bears sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Gochnauer had eight saves during the game and the Bearkats senior goalkeeper Jenny Pence had four.
The Bears lost momentum early in the game as the Bearkats came out and quickly scored in the opening minutes of the game. In the second minute of play, Bearkats sophomore midfielder Kirby Zak scored with a header after she was assisted by a corner kick from Bearkats sophomore midfielder Paige Rodriguez to give the Bearkats an early lead of 1-0.
The Bears had several drives down the field where they attempted to score, but could not follow through and were either caught up by the Bearkats’ defenders and could not get a shot off or their shot was saved by Pence.
Bears junior forward Marissa Hicks had an opportunity to score during the 29th minute of play, but was swarmed by the Bearkats defenders and Pence. Pence was given a yellow card for a foul against Hicks and the Bears were given a free kick but could not make the shot.
The Bearkats were able to lengthen their lead in the final minutes of the first half. In the 42nd minute of play, Bearkats freshman midfielder Kelsi Brown scored on an open goal after Gochnauer came out of the box to give the Bearkats a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
The Bears took the last shot to try to score before the half with a pass from senior midfielder Randi Condley to Hicks, but the shot missed wide right.
The Bears came out during the second half looking ready to fight and they did. The Bears tied the game with two goals during the 70th and 73rd minutes of play.
The Bears’ first goal of the game was a rebounded shot off of the post that sophomore midfielder Brittany Kemper put in with an assist from freshman midfielder Abigail Hodgson. The Bears’ second goal was also by Kemper who scored on a one-on-one goal after a crossover pass from freshman forward Alex Barnett to tie the score 2-2.
The Bears’ had an unfortunate accident in the 88th minute of play that sealed the win for the Bearkats. During a struggle to keep the Bearkats from scoring, the Bears accidentally knocked the ball into their own goal, giving the Bearkats the lead and the win with a score of 3-2.
Coach Tina Banham said the team had some key things that went wrong during the game that lead to the loss.
“We started out really slow,” she said. “We gave up that goal in the first few minutes of the game. We have really been stressing the importance of defending corners and we didn’t do a good job of it. We came out flat and in conference games you just cannot do that.”
Banham said the team started playing like they should during the second half and she was pleased with the efforts from the team late in the game, but just had a bad ending to the game.
“We got back in the game and got it tied up but just had an unlucky break in the end,” she said.
Banham said the team just had to play with more heart and not be flat and they have to play for the full 90 minutes and they were just not ready to do that.
“Give the credit to Sam [Houston State], they finished their opportunities and we didn’t,” she said.
Bears junior defender Caty McMains said the team had a rough time on the field early in the game and that they struggled to fight back after getting down early on.
“Giving up those goals in the very beginning hurt us and we also came into the game and did not do things we had been working on all week in practice,” she said. “We didn’t come out with intensity or physicality.”
McMains said the second half was a lot better for the team when they started playing like they should have been.
“We started playing more to the forwards and then they started playing more to the outside-mids and that really helped us,” she said. “We also started finishing on our opportunities. The first half we didn’t finish on our chances, but during the second half we finished those and that helped us too.”

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