RUSTON, La. – The Louisiana Tech soccer team was able to get one monkey off its back Sunday against Utah State but not two. The Lady Techsters scored their first ever conference goal in a 2-1 loss to open WAC play.
Tech (4-5-2, 0-1-0) could not get its first conference win but with aggressive play in the second half was able to notch a goal against the Aggies.
With 25 seconds remaining sophomore forward Denise Wilson fired a shot from 30 yards out that found the top-right corner of the net. Head coach Jennifer Burns said the goal helped lift the team’s spirits and was just the kind of goal the Techsters needed to get the ball rolling in conference play.
“It’s important to get that first goal out of the way just because we didn’t score last year,” Burns said. “Denise hit an amazing shot. If one of those other ones went in earlier, that would have tied the game.”
Utah State (6-7-0, 1-0-0) took control of the match in the first half by throwing the Techsters out of their game plan with an aggressive style of their own. Charity Weston scored in the 29th minute after a quick throw-in by the Aggies in an attempt to catch Tech’s defense off guard.
Approximately 10 minutes later, the Aggies struck again with Weston playing a vital role on the play. Weston sped past the Tech defense on the right wing with the ball and centered a pass to Candice Clark, who put the ball in the back of the net.
In the second half, scoring chances were fewer for the Aggies, as Tech’s defense and midfield help keep them at bay and created scoring chances for the Techsters.
“I think the second half we did much better. We switched formations, that helped us a little bit, and our midfield had a much bigger half. They came up big for us in the second half,” Burns said.
Freshman goal keeper Jill Medigovich had eight saves in the match and kept Utah State from opening up a bigger lead with three one-on-one saves when Tech trailed 2-0. Utah State keeper Ali Griffin had three saves in the contest.
Burns said despite the loss, she was glad to see her team respond in the second half. It is a sign the team is better than last year and there is potential for the Lady Techsters in 2006.
“We had a number of opportunities that we could have finished. We had five corner kicks we have to do better on, and the shot ratio of 12-17 is a lot better than it was in the past,” Burns said. “I think the team has improved tremendously from last year. I think it’s something to build off of. The girls earned a little respect, and I think we have a chance. We’ll see what happens next week.”
Tech hits the road next weekend for games at Hawaii and San Jose State before returning home for two matches.