Strong Defensive Performance Keys Comeback Victory
Sept. 16, 2012
HAMMOND, La. - Going up against one of the highest scoring offenses in the country in Southeastern Louisiana, the Louisiana Tech defense had their hands - and feet - full on Sunday at the Southeastern Soccer Complex.
Despite giving up an early first period goal to the Lions, the defensive line stood tall allowing the offense to use their second half magic to spark a 2-1 come-from-behind victory, their first comeback win of the season.
The road win completed the weekend sweep for the Techsters after a 4-0 shutout versus Jackson State this past Friday and bolsters their record to 7-1-2 and ended SLU's four-game winning streak bringing their overall record to 5-3.
"This was a game of two very diverse styles - Southeastern Louisiana with a direct power style and us with a passing and combination style," said head coach Kevin Sherry. "SLU is one of the top offensive teams in the nation so to come away with a win on the road is very pleasing."
Coming into this weekend, the Lions were ranked seventh in the country in goals per game led by their senior forward Maiya Cooper who had seven goals and two assists entering the match. Stopping her was crucial for Tech, and in doing so may have resulted in a lack of focus on their other forwards as SLU struck first with a goal by Casey Peacock in the 24th minute on the assist from Kayla Vera.
"We got caught with a long, hopeful ball forward and their striker outmuscled our defenders," said Sherry. "We learned from this and anticipated the long ball better which nullified their offense."
Nullify the offense they did as Tech's backline of Mo Rockwell, Mette Rudolfsen, Lindsay Brough and Jessica Davis stymied any attack by Cooper and the Lions. The defense only allowed three more shots the rest of the way, none of which came off the foot of Cooper. This helped pave the way for the Tech offense to do what they do best, turn up the offensive pressure in the second period.
After only taking three shots in the first period, it was only 12 minutes after halftime that the Techsters were able to tie the game up. In the 57th minute, forward Emily Brennan took a short pass in front of the goal from Rockwell and put it past the keeper for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.
LA Tech continued to take shots at the goal, hitting the post three separate times. It was in the 70th minute that Tech would get the game-winning goal by midfielder Erica Stewart after forward Laura LeFevour took a right dribble and crossed it in front of the goal to complete the comeback win.
This marked the second goal of the season for Stewart and the team-leading fifth assist on the season for LeFevour.
"The second half display was very positive," said Sherry. "SLU is a powerful team and well coached. This was a real battle and our ladies came through great." The frontline ended up taking eight shots in the second period increasing their game total to eleven. Goalkeeper Caitlin Updyke was credited with one save and the win, her fifth of the season and career-leading 26th.
Now at the official midway point of the season with 10 games in books, the 28 goals scored has already surpassed the team season total from last year when the Techsters scored 26 times. Meanwhile of the 28 goals, 19 have come in the second period.
A road trip for the Techsters would not be complete for Sherry and company without another community service project. In route to Hammond was a pit stop in Alexandria to visit with patients at the Veterans Hospital.
"It was awesome," said Sherry. "It really gave us some perspective on life and the vets certainly appreciated the visit."
Next up for the Techsters on the soccer field is another in-state battle. This one will take place in Ruston at the Lady Techster Soccer Complex versus McNeese State on Friday at 4 p.m. After a 1-0 shutout victory over WAC member Texas State today, the Cowgirls are riding on a three-game winning streak.
For complete coverage of LA Tech Soccer, please follow @LaTechSOC on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.