Sept. 1, 2008
The greatest and at the same time toughest thing about the game of soccer is that a team can do everything possible to win the game but in the end one bounce the wrong way or one shot can leave them on the losing side. In this past Sunday's game vs. Texas we did everything we could possibly do to win the game. We created great chances by getting in behind their back line. We kept them in front of us defensively and denied them from having quality scoring opportunities. But we were not able to convert any of our chances, and they made us pay with just 3 minutes left in double overtime as they were able to find a game winning goal.
We came out determined to take the game to Texas and put pressure on them right from the start. It nearly paid off less than 5 minutes into the game. Caitlin Rehder won a tackle at midfield and dribbled past three Texas defenders. But as soon as she got in behind the defensive line the Texas goalkeeper sprinted out quickly enough to dive at Rehder's feet before she could get her shot off.
Later on in the first half we had another opportunity to go ahead. Kate Cunningham slipped a pass through to Ashley Auld running in behind the Texas backline. With the goalkeeper once again rushing out Auld tried to touch the ball around her, but the goalkeeper was able to dive and make herself big enough to deflect the ball with her legs and once again deny a great opportunity.
Our third great chance of the first half came when Lindsay Boling broke free on the left side. She dribbled into the box and took a hard low shot toward the far post. The Texas goalkeeper made the save but gave up a rebound that left the ball trickling across the goal line. Giselle Mangal was sprinting to tap in the rebound but just before she could get a touch on it a Texas defender slid and knocked the ball away.
We kept pushing and managed to get another great chance before the halftime whistle. Kelsey Hunyadi dribbled down the right side and managed to slip a pass through the Texas defense to Shannon Smyth. Once again the Texas goalkeeper came rushing out and as Shannon tried to touch the ball past the goalkeeper she managed to extend a fingertip out and tip the ball back off Shannon an over the endline for a goalkick.
We had 5 shots on goal in the first half while they did not have any, but we did not take advantage of our chances and the half ended 0-0.
In the second half we had three more great opportunities to take the lead. In the first chance, Giselle Mangal stole the ball off the foot of the Texas center back as she was trying to control a bouncing ball. Unfortunately Giselle had difficulty controlling the ball, as well, and her touch went just out or her reach and into the hands of the diving Texas goalkeeper.
The next chance fell to Ashley Auld, who broke free down the right side and struck a low hard shot from just inside the box. The goalkeeper dove to her right and did well to hold the powerful shot with Giselle Mangal waiting to tap in any rebound.
Our last chance of regulation came just seconds from the end off of a corner kick. The service was sent in past the far post and was knocked back across to the top of the six yard box where Lindsay Boling found herself with a wide open header. Unfortunately she was not able to generate enough pace to beat the Texas goalkeeper who dove to her left to make the save.
We went into overtime determined to push for the victory. Our best chance came with just 4 minutes left to go in the second overtime when we broke through with numbers up and found Lindsay Boling racing down the right side. Boling took a touch and cracked a low hard shot to the near post that just slipped past the post wide.
Unfortunately with just minutes to go in the second overtime Texas took advantage of our inability to finish. A Texas player picked the ball up 40 yards from goal and dribbled at our defense before striking a shot into the upper right corner. It was one of three shots on goal Texas had for the game, but it was enough to ensure the victory for them as we could not take advantage of any of our 10 shots on goal.
We played a fantastic match against a very strong Texas team, but in the end the scoreboard tells the ultimate story. The next few games will be against tough opponents in Purdue and Oklahoma State, but if we can play the way we did against Texas and find a way to capitalize on our opportunities then the season should get even more exciting in the weeks to come.