The Golden Eagles opened conference play with a 3-0 loss to Louisiana Tech. The game itself was much closer since it was a 1-0 contest until the last 15 minutes of the match.
Southern Miss came out very aggressive to create several opportunities to score early in the game. But, a combination of hesitancy from USM and a physical Louisiana Tech defense killed any opportunities the Golden Eagles had.
La. Tech’s Nomvula Kgoale scored the first goal despite looking to be offsides on the play. Notably, a red card was issued to Adriana Garcia in the first half.
“If you looked at the game the first 25-30 minutes, we were controlling the match,” said coach Mohammed El-Zare. “[We] were playing and creating chances.”
Although the performance by the Golden Eagles helped keep them in the game, the second half would be more of a struggle. Louisiana Tech would become more physical with both teams eventually receiving yellow cards. The physicality seemed to have thrown the Golden Eagles off of their game plan and performance.
Goalkeeper Brittany Taylor and Breann Hedin held the fort down defensively. Taylor accumulated eight saves, held off eight corner kicks and 20 shots. Hedin had saved Taylor from several possible one-on-one matchups that could have led to more goals. She also held Tech’s leading scorer Kathryn Sloan, who had 15 goals coming into the game.
“[Hedin] is continuing to grow and show maturity and its out- standing to see a young player take some emphasis in and learn from those mistakes,” El-Zare said. “To show the maturity in the conference game that is a high-level game and to be able to show that – I’m proud of her.”
The game fell apart for the Golden Eagles in the final 15 minutes when La. Tech’s Jenna Dages scored two goals in back to back minutes. Dages’ penetration was the nail in the coffin for USM and finished the game for La. Tech making the score 3-0.
The Golden Eagles will face Western Kentucky next on the road Sep.22.
“They have always been a solid team in the league and were up to that,” El-Zare said. “There is no doubt that we should not get the result that we want.”