RUSTON, La. – The Louisiana Tech soccer team defeated Stephen F. Austin 2-1 Friday night in a match Tech coach Jennifer Burns called the biggest win the program has had.
“They forced us into something that is not our style, but my team did what it had to do to win,” Burns said. “This is probably the biggest win in our program’s history. They’re the best team we’ve beaten, and to go up two goals and hold them off after they scored is huge. Overall it was a solid performance.”
The Lady Techsters struck just 17 minutes into the game when Brook Kelly scored her third goal of the season from 30 yards out. Leslie Buck got her first assist of the year on the play.
Taking the lead early allowed Tech to set the tempo, but the Ladyjacks answered with a few offensive chances before halftime and applying pressure in the second. Freshman goal keeper Jill Medigovich registered her second win of the season with eight saves in the contest.
Just six minutes before the break, Emily Cleaveland scored to lead by two. It was her fourth goal of the year, and Cleaveland has now scored in all three of Tech’s games this season.
Burns said she was glad her team could take a 2-0 lead into halftime, but she warned her team not to get complacent during the break.
“To go up 2-0 is the most dangerous score in soccer because the team that goes up can feel like they have some padding,” Burns said. “We did and they came out and got that early goal in the second half to get back in the game.”
In the 52nd minute, SFA’s Shahin Pabani scored on an assist from Jenna Turner to get back within striking distance.
Tech responded with solid defense that kept the Ladyjacks at bay and earned the Lady Techsters their first 3-0 start in school history.
“SFA has won their conference two years in a row and are picked to do it again this year,” Burns said. “We knew they had the experience to come back being down 2-0. I think my team showed huge heart to hold them off. We got over a big hurdle tonight.”
There is no time to rest, however, as Burns and her squad will travel to take on Southern Mississippi at 1 p.m. Sunday. It is a match Burns said her team must be prepared for and have put Friday’s win behind them in order to win.
“We can enjoy this for the night, and then we have to get ready for Southern Miss because they’re not gonna be a joke either,” Burns said.