LA Tech Battles Back, Twice, to Down Middle Tennessee
Oct. 19, 2017
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Behind on the scoreboard on two different occasions, the Louisiana Tech women’s soccer team battled back to equalize twice.
Then it was the Lady Techsters turn to have the lead, thanks to Nomvula Kgoale’s second goal of the match. It was a lead they never surrendered, downing Middle Tennessee by a final score of 3-2 on Thursday night at the Dean A. Hayes Soccer Stadium.
Trailing is something LA Tech (11-2-5, 4-1-3 C-USA) had not done much of this year, having played from behind in only four matches. Making matters more difficult tonight was having to play without key players due to injuries or suspension.
The Lady Techsters were down 1-0 early, but equalized three minutes later on a Kgoale goal. However, Middle Tennessee (7-8, 4-4 C-USA) regained the lead five minutes before halftime.
Then midway through the second period, LA Tech netted two goals in the span of three minutes – Jenna Dages provided the equalizer and Kgoale provided what would be the game-winner to secure three points in what was a battle between two squads tied for sixth place in the league standings.
“Tonight was a great performance on the road, especially when you consider the ‘spine’ of the team was absent,” head coach Kevin Sherry said. “Our starting goalkeeper was injured. Our central defender was out through card suspension. Our starting center midfield and our central striker were both out.
“I don’t think many teams would remain competitive if such a scenario happened to them. I am very proud of the team in the manner they responded to such adversity.”
The Blue Raiders opened up the scoring in the 10th minute when goalkeeper Carlotta Cartelli came off her line to try to kick the ball away on a clearance but missed. Peyton DePriest was there to score into the open net.
In the 13th minute though, Dages was pushed down from behind on a shot attempt, awarding the Lady Techsters a free kick. Kgoale took it from 25 yards out and placed it over the wall. The bender hit off the bottom of the crossbar and went over the end line for the equalizer.
The match seemed destined for a 1-1 tie at intermission, but in the 40th minute DePriest struck again. A cross from the left side went through traffic and her one-touch shot from close range had too much pace on it for Faith Washington (subbed in at keeper 20 minutes in) to push it over the crossbar.
Senior Olivia Millington sent a classic long ball from 40 yards away with her left foot that had to be punched over the crossbar. Later, senior Hannah McStay-Fenn got in behind the defense but could not keep her shot down and it sailed.
In the 68th minute is when the second equalizer came. Hervey placed a perfect through ball to Dages who had the control to beat the keeper 1v1 low and inside the left post for her team-leading ninth goal of the season (six coming in league action).
Hervey’s activity in the attacking third paid off again in the 71st minute when she was dribbling and got fouled at the top of the box.
There was little doubt who was going to take the free kick … Kgoale. The senior stepped up and again buried it for her fifth goal of the year.
From there on, the defense held strong by dribbling to the corners and sending continuous long balls out of danger areas, helping the team improve its point total to 15 with two matches to go.
LA Tech held a 17-14 shot advantage and a 5-3 corner kick edge. Washington got her second win of the season in net, registering three saves.
The Lady Techsters play their final road game of the regular season on Sunday, Oct. 22 at UAB. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
For all the latest in LA Tech Soccer, follow them on Twitter (@LATechSOC), Instagram (@LATechSOC) and Facebook (LATechSoccer) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.
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