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Courtesy: Ilya Pinchuk (Moscow, Idaho)
Meli Cortez fires off a shot for her first career goal in the second half.
Idaho scores first, but falls
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 08/24/2012
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MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho soccer owned the first 15 minutes against Gonzaga with strong possession and intensity, but lost that mentality and the game with it after surrendering three scores in a 26-minute span in a 3-2 loss.

Idaho (1-2-0) exploded out the gates, controlled possession and went up 1-0 on tremendous build-up when senior Erica Hart cruised up the right sideline and sent a pass in to fellow senior Megan Lopez, who juked a defender and popped a pass across goal to senior Jill Flockhart, who tapped it in at 9:10.

The Vandal celebration was short-lived, because Gonzaga (2-1-0) came right back at Idaho and equalized just six minutes later when Emma Dolcetti took a shot at the top of the 18-yard box that took a deflection of a defender’s leg and just past the reach of Idaho keeper Liz Boyden.

“The first 15 minutes, we controlled the game,” Idaho head coach Peter Showler said. “The goal came from great passing moves and combination play, but we score the goal and take our foot off the pedal. Nobody stepped up and challenged people to be better on the pitch, and that’s what we’ve got to learn.”

Gonzaga kept the pressure on for the remainder of the first half and it paid off at 30:37 when GU’s Sila Tuiofea sent in a cross to the far post that found the foot of Ali Ohashi for a one-timer that put the Zags up 2-1. Just before the halftime break, Gonzaga earned a corner and Kellyn Nelson added a third score in a 26-minute span on a header.

Idaho came out of halftime a different team, got numbers forward and played their game. The result was a Meli Cortez volley for her first career score at 68:59 after Amber Pimley intercepted a clearing pass at the top of the 18-yard box. Idaho kept the pressure up and earned several second-half opportunities, but didn’t make the final touch to equalize.

“The second half was a different kettle of fish,” Showler said. “We got after them, we competed for every first and second ball, we won first and second balls, we played them higher up the field and we created a bit more with great movement and just a bit more determination.”

In all, Idaho finished with a 12-10 overall advantage in shots, while on-target attempts were tied at six apiece and the Vandals had a 5-3 advantage in corners. Boyden made three saves for the Vandals, while GU keeper Susan Brown registered four saves and surrendered two scores in 90 minutes.

Showler said that while he is always disappointed to lose, he was encouraged by the way Idaho played for 60 minutes in the game. The key now is to start and finish with that same intensity for a full 90 minutes, especially with a physical, aggressive North Dakota State team coming to the pitch on Sunday.

“I was proud of that second half. I’m never happy to lose, but I’m much prouder of that second half,” Showler said. “Now we have to put two of those together. We put that together for 90 minutes and we’ll be hard to beat.”

Sunday’s match at Guy Wicks Field kicks off at 1 p.m. (PT). NDSU enters the match at 1-2-0 after taking a 3-2 victory at Eastern Washington on Friday.

“Today, we always knew it was going to be a battle, and North Dakota State will be no different, because they play that same style and they do it well,” Showler said. “It’s who’s got the biggest heart and biggest determination.”
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