Cajuns Slip Past Soccer in Exhibition
LAFAYETTE, La. - The Southern Miss soccer team kicked off the 2014 campaign with an exhibition match against Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday evening at the Ragin' Cajuns Soccer Complex. The two teams played a lot of players, but the home team Cajuns edged out the Golden Eagles, 1-0, thanks to a late goal.
"There were a lot of positive things to take away," said head coach Mohammed El-Zare after the match. "We got every available player on our roster in the game today. Our main goal was to get everyone minutes and evaluate what we have and what we need to tweak. There were moments in the game where we tried a lot of new things. We were looking at things we need to tweak and things we need to improve upon. That is why we play exhibition games. We are going to be fine."
The two teams played nearly even soccer with Louisiana-Lafayette holding a slight 11-to-8 advantage on shots. The Ragin' Cajuns took four shots on goal, while the Golden Eagles tallied a pair of shots on goal. Senior Missy Wentz led all Golden Eagles with three shots, while true freshman Karen Torres added a pair of shots. Senior Anya Koren and freshmen Beth Coleman and Rebekah McMullan each added shots on the night.
Goalkeeper Brittany Taylor notched three saves in her season debut. The 2013 Conference USA All-Freshman selection played the full 90-minute match between the posts allowing just one goal.
In the first half, the two teams played to a scoreless draw. The home team held a 7-to-4 advantage on shots. Torres led the team in the first half with two shots, while Wentz and Koren each posted a shot. Two of the four Golden Eagle shots in the first half were on goal.
In the second half, the Ragin' Cajuns broke the scoreless tie with a goal in the 68th minute. Louisiana-Lafayette's Madison Duncan took a shot in the middle of the box and snuck it past the Southern Miss keeper for the first goal of the game.
"We worked on some things with our defense," El-Zare added. "We were able to get 13 freshmen minutes tonight, which is very critical for us. We were able to give them a little more of a taste of what the college game is all about. We now have a clearer picture of what we need to work on. That is what we came here for."
Southern Miss opens up the 2014 regular season campaign with a game on Friday, Aug. 22, as the Golden Eagles play host to Nicholls State at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. Kickoff is slated for 4:00 p.m.