RUSTON - With the temperatures reaching the upper 90s, the Louisiana Tech soccer team used 20 players to beat the extreme heat and also take the victory over UALR 1-0 this afternoon at the Lady Techster Soccer Complex.
Tech rebounded from last Sunday's loss to Jacksonville State and improved their record to 5-1-1 on the year while UALR dropped to 0-6-0.
Many of the young players got to see action early as nine of the starting 11 were freshman. The team was able to maintain possession and put pressure in the box but never got any clean looks at the goal. Almost an entire roster substitution followed soon after a scheduled water break midway through the first period in order to keep the players hydrated.
"Today was definitely one of the hottest days we have ever had out here so we just came out knowing we had to work as hard as we could to beat the team we played today which they played really well," said junior forward Emily Brennan.
After a scoreless first half that saw the Techsters hold a 10-2 shot advantage, the offense picked up the pace of play in order to wear down the Trojans.
"We used as many players as we could, and I think in the end with UALR not having as many players, in the second half you could see that they were more tired," said head coach Kevin Sherry. "In this oppressive heat, it was good to see our players fighting spirit out there."
The UALR defense remained compact most of the game, not allowing any room to dribble inside the box, but mental and physical fatigue may have set in and resulted in a defensive breakdown when Brennan took the ball off a ricochet and put it in the net in the 48th minute.
"I saw Abby [Sentz] looking at Nicole [Jaquemet] and she passed it to her and then the ball just came right to my feet and I took the touch and hit it in the goal," said Brennan who scored her team leading fourth goal of the season.
Another scoring chance went by the wayside later in the second period when freshman forward Laura LeFevour delivered a beautiful cross into the box to Sentz who struck the ball just over the crossbar. After scoring zero goals in the two matches last weekend of the Trojan Classic tournament, the one goal today would be enough as the Tech defense did not allow a single shot on goal the entire match.
"I think the more repetitions we have with those chances, they will learn from it and once one or two go in their confidence will rise," said Sherry.
In her second consecutive start, keeper Corina Brown picked up her first shutout as a Lady Techster.
Tech will drink plenty of water and rest tomorrow before they travel to take on South Alabama on Sunday in a match scheduled for 1 p.m.
For complete coverage of LA Tech Soccer, please follow @LaTechSOC on Twitter or visit the official website of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com