CONWAY, Ark - Louisiana Tech came up with two equalizers in the match to come away with a 2-2 draw versus Central Arkansas on Friday night at the Bill Stephens Soccer Complex in the season opener.
Typically both teams play more defensive to start off the new year but both were on point in the attacking third early.
UCA (0-0-1) quickly got on the scoreboard first in the sixth minute as a cross in front of the net found Allie Coleman who was able to clip the ball before goalkeeper Kylee Seto could get to it.
LA Tech (0-0-1) countered just one minute later with the equalizer when Kailee Hervey beat the backline and drove the ball low and hard into the far corner from 12 yards out.
The first half seemed destined to end knotted up but in the 37th minute a free kick from midfield by UCA found its way into the box untouched. A defensive breakdown in organization by Tech allowed the ball to fill an empty gap and the Bears' Megan Thomas punched it in from close range to regain the 2-1 advantage.
Coach Sherry decided to change tactics and put the speedy Madison Doll along with other runners at the top and it definitely opened up more chances in the second half.
LA Tech had two early corner kicks and two set pieces just outside the box, but was unable to capitalize on the opportunities.
After multiple chances could not get on goal, the Techsters finally connected on the equalizer for a second time after Doll juked the keeper and drove it into the open net in the 82nd minute.
"We realized we could get in behind," said Sherry. "We were over possessing it so we used a lot of speed with a target player to give us more options whereas in the first half we had just one runner. Eventually it paid off with our gamble."
The match went into overtime with the first nine minutes spent mostly in the midfield, but a UCA player got loose at the end with an open net in play. However, Jenny Bitzer came up huge with a block on the shot to send the match into double overtime.
Each team had one last chance to come away with the golden goal. UCA's Mounie hit the post and for LA Tech, Armstrong had a clean look at goal from 15 yards out but the shot went straight to the keeper.
"We found out a lot about the team, who plays where and what are their strengths and weaknesses," said Sherry. "Giving up the soft goals was frustrating but we showed a fighting spirit."
The Techsters ended up with an 18-16 shot advantage with five on goal.
The team returns home on Sunday for their home opener against the Troy Trojans. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. and admission is free.
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