Aug 23, 2013
JONESBORO, Ark. - The Southern Miss soccer team started its 2013 campaign on a dramatic note Friday, logging a 2-2 tie overtime after trailing the Arkansas State Red Wolves at the half in what was the season opener for both teams. It was a performance that set well with first-year Golden Eagle coach Mohammed El-Zare.
"This was our first chance to play against live competition and I thought it went well," El-Zare said. "We did not have the benefit of playing an exhibition game prior to the season so I was interested to see how we would perform. I thought everyone on the team did well."
Southern Miss (0-0-1) wasted little time in cracking the scoreboard. Senior Chelsea Cruthirds found the back of the net in the sixth minute thanks to an assist by Mischa Tice and put Southern Miss ahead 1-0.
The Red Wolves (0-0-1) countered with two first period goals of their own, a Loren Mitchell goal assisted by Ashley Jackson in the 13th minute and a Christine Giles goal with an assist from Madison Joyce in the 34th minute, to take a 2-1 lead into the half.
In the second period, though, the Golden Eagles proved up to the challenge and forced the overtime after an unassisted goal by freshman Adriana Garcia.
"Overall, we showed a lot of character," El-Zare said. "We got up early and were playing well, then Arkansas State came back and led 2-1. But we were able to tie the match and had several opportunities to win the game late. We weren't able to capitalize on those chances, but that is the way this game is. I am proud of the whole team."
Southern Miss used two keepers in the match. Veteran Lindsey Schwaner played the first half and logged one save with a pair of goals against.
In the second half and overtime, freshman Brittany Taylor was in goal and made five saves, including a late on-goal shot by the Mitchell in the second overtime to secure the tie.
"I was pleased with the performance of both goalies," El-Zare said. "Lindsey Schwaner, our senior, did an exceptional job in the first half but we made a change in the second half and overtime to our freshman. We wanted to give everyone a chance to play. I thought they both did great and I am proud of them both. There were many players on the team to be proud of, players who came in and did a wonderful job for us."
Arkansas State keeper Michaela Supple finished with six saves and two goals against. Southern Miss returns to action Sunday at 1 p.m. with an in-state road game against Mississippi Valley State in Itta Bena.
"We are moving on to Mississippi Valley," El-Zare said. "Hopefully, we can take all of the excellent play and effort that we had today and put that on the field Sunday."
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