Courtesy: Bruce Mann (Moscow, Idaho)
|Vandals fall late at TTU|
LUBBOCK, Texas – University of Idaho women’s soccer scored a late equalizing goal, but gave up a score with seven minutes remaining and fell, 2-1, in their season opener at Texas Tech on Friday.
Idaho (0-1-0) fell behind in the first minute after head coach Peter Showler said they came out of the gates “like deer in the headlights,” and gave a very quick Texas Tech (1-0-0) side too much free space to work with in the early going.
“They were fast and physical – everything we expected. In the first half, we just didn’t do a good job of dealing with it,” Showler said. “They kept us on our heels. It’s a testament to their play, but we also made some unforced errors early on.”
To the team’s credit, Idaho’s eighth-year head man said, the Vandals came out more focused and more aggressive after the half and managed to push forward more consistently. That mindset led to the team’s first score when senior forward Chelsea Small earned a mini-breakaway and earned a corner with a high shot.
The Vandals brought it even just seconds later at 78:00 when sophomore Katie Baran sent in a perfect corner to freshman Meli Cortez, who one-timed it to junior defender Chelsie Breen to finish. The score was the third of Breen’s career.
“It was a great ball in, we put it where it hurt,” Showler said. “It was like a feeding frenzy – the girls hopped on it and finished it off.”
The Red Raiders answered just minutes later, unfortunately, when Tech’s Paige Strahan took a piece of open space at 20 yards and sent a shot into the top corner out of goalkeeper Liz Boyden’s reach at 82:46. Idaho pushed forward in the final minutes, but couldn’t build any more late scoring opportunities.
Showler said that despite the loss, there are plenty of positives from Friday.
“We got the first-half nerves out of the way, then came out to play in the second half, and the girls should be proud of the way they played in that half against a very, very good team,” Showler said. “We came out in the second half a different team, pushed them up the field, played our game and got them rattled.
“In the big picture, I think we can take a lot from this game.”
Overall, Tech held a 22-8 edge in shots, but on-target attempts were just 10-5 in TTU’s favor. The Red Raiders also earned eight corners to Idaho’s five.
Vandal senior goalkeeper Liz Boyden made eight saves and allowed the two goals in 90 minutes of her first action back since suffering a broken leg early in 2011. Showler said the choice of a starter was very tight between Boyden and fellow senior Caroline Towles, who started 13 games last season, but that Boyden responded very well in her first outing.
“She should take a lot of confidence from that performance,” Showler said. “She pulled off some great saves, and it was never going to be easy with the number of shots they were taking.”
There won’t be much rest for the Vandals, because they fly home Saturday morning and kick off their home opener against South Dakota on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Guy Wicks Field. The Coyotes opened their season at Gonzaga on Friday and suffered a 3-1 defeat. Admission to Sunday’s game is free.