Sept. 21, 2012
RUSTON - In what was the final nonconference match of the season for Louisiana Tech, the team did exactly what they do best which is play stout defense and score in the 2nd half.
The lone goal of the day was compliments of midfielder Erica Stewart who placed a perfect ball to the back post, just out of the reach of the keeper, to notch the game-winning goal and the 1-0 win over McNeese State today at the Lady Techster Soccer Complex.
The victory pushes LA Tech's unbeaten streak to five with an overall record of 8-1-2. The loss ended the Cowgirls unbeaten streak of four games and puts their record at 5-4-1 on the year.
The match unfolded much like all the other recent games for the Techsters. The defense minimized the scoring opportunities for the opposition while the offense dominated ball possession throughout the first period. Despite a few close shots in the box by midfielder Paige Dunn, LA Tech could not get on the scoreboard before halftime.
"Overall it was a very good performance," said head coach Kevin Sherry. "It would make my life easier if we could finish those chances, but every game, because we don't, every game is on its knife edge. That first one in the penalty area, if [Paige Dunn] had placed it more instead of going for power, that was a certain goal. It's those things that when openings come we need to take advantage of."
At the midway point, LA Tech had six shots compared to nil for the Cowgirls. Both teams started to take far more chances with long balls as soon as the 2nd period got underway.
McNeese State had the first great scoring chance in the 55th minute when their forward raced down the left side, forcing LA Tech's goalkeeper Corina Brown to drift out from the net to beat her to the ball. The two slid at the same time to get a foot on it, and had a hard collision. Brown remained down but luckily for the Techsters the ball was eventually cleared after being loose in the box with an open net in sight.
Brown would remain in the game after a brief clock stoppage, and the LA Tech offense was back to maintaining possession on their half of the field.
The game remained scoreless when forward Laura LeFevour was set to come back into the game to replace Stewart. Before being subbed in by the refs, the Techsters received a free kick in the 73rd minute just outside the left portion of the box. Midfielder Brittany Beddow, instead of taking a bending shot at the goal, saw Stewart cutting across the middle and delivered the ball to her foot. She then took the touch with a wide open shot at the net and placed it to the back post.
"I expected Erica to smash it because she has a lot of power, but she went for the delicate chip to the back post which was great, and that was a tall goalkeeper," said Sherry.
Stewart made great use of her 19 minutes playing in relief of LeFevour who was chasing down long balls all evening. The goal was her third on the season, and one that may not have even happened had it not been for the choice of who would take the free kick.
"We got a free kick, and Brittany and I started together and we decided she was going to take it," said Stewart. "I then took a couple of steps away and I was wide open so she played me and I took a touch and shot, hoped for the best, and it went in."
In the last 10 minutes of action, the Cowgirls started to take more possession of the ball and took some long shots, but the defense was able to collapse on the ball quickly for the most part and clear it thanks in large part to Andrea Weng who was moved from midfielder to defender for this match.
[Andrea Weng] had a great game, a very strong presence," said Sherry. "She was good in the air, strong, and good with the ball at her feet. Overall I was pretty impressed with the defenders as a unit, just gave up one or two chances but overall very good."
The shutout victory was the seventh of the season for the Techsters and the third for Brown at keeper.
Now Sherry and Co. can rest for two weeks and set their sights on WAC play. The Techsters will be tested early as the preseason favorites Denver Pioneers come to Ruston on Oct. 5 to kickoff conference action. That match is set for 4 p.m.
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