Women’s Soccer Prevails at First Conference Match

Another night at home for UCA women’s soccer (6-2-1) earned the team a sweeping 5-0 victory Sept. 14 against Sam Houston State University.

During the last few weeks at home, women’s soccer has won four straight games, including another 5-0 shutout game against Oral Roberts University Sept. 5.

The first 18 minutes went without a score for either team, and the shots on goal sat at 4-3 in UCA’s favor as both teams worked hard to keep up their defensive pressure.

Junior midfielder Connie Awuku-Darkoh set out to change that. With 26:36 left in the first half, Awuku-Darkoh made a fast and furious first goal for the Bears.

From there, the women’s team made their mark on the home field.

A halftime score at 1-0 didn’t sit for long after, as the Bears saw another goal  at 43:00, and yet another one made by midfielder senior Anika Sultan at 39:04, putting UCA in the lead with 3-0.

It was hard to miss a daring block by fresh-faced UCA goalkeeper, freshman Jayme Selph, during a penalty kick by Sam Houston at 25:43. To turn the tables, however, at 21:14, a successful penalty kick goal was made by forward-positioner senior Camille Bassett.

As the buzzer went off on the second half, the UCA Bears saw a final score of 5-0, with a whopping SOG of 12-8. The game was yet another win for the women, and there were a few factors that played into the victory.

“[I’m most proud of] the spirit of the team. They came out ready to play and ready to fight,” coach Jeremy Bishop said. “The positive attitude in the game led us to be able to do the things we needed to do on the soccer field.”

Every week the team focuses on a different area of  and practice to dominate and use in future game plans.

“[The practice routine] is based on our evaluation and the previous games that we’ve played. We work in areas that we need to fix and get better at,” coach Derek Nichols` said. “We’re looking to win the regular season, and the big one that we haven’t reached yet: winning the conference tournament and [getting]ourselves into the national tournament.”

The Sugar Bears came off the field proud and gleaming in the night’s soccer field lights, feeling optimistic for the season ahead. “I felt really good. Coming into the game that was our game plan, to try and score early to put [Sam Houston] under pressure,” Awuku-Darkoh said.

As to what the team is working toward next, they are gearing up to play their next game, an away game in Beaumont, Texas against Lamar University at 7 p.m. on Sept. 21.

“[We have] 10 more conference games to go,” Bishop said. “We just have to keep playing one game at a time.”

The Lady Cardinals haven’t played a game since Sept. 9, so they will be rested for UCA, who will have played a week prior to this conference opener.

Photo by Lauren Swaim

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