Sep 6, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - It took overtime and an amazing, to say nothing of unlikely, golden goal for the Southern Miss women's soccer team to be defeated for the first time in 2013. Despite a hard-fought second-half comeback, the Golden Eagles fell 3-2 to South Alabama.
After stumbling a bit in the first half, Southern Miss dictated the pace of the match through the entirety of the second half and had several chances for the win in the overtime, sending multiple shots on goal and into the Jaguar goalpost.
Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, luck shined brighter for the Jaguars on the day and, in the 98th minute, South Alabama freshman Lauren Allison was able to end the game after sneaking the ball in off a towering, 40-plus-yard assist from Tatum Perry.
"I'm really proud of all of the girls today," coach Mohammed El-Zare said. "We played soccer. We played the game the way it is supposed to be played. We fell behind early but stuck to the gameplan and really forced our will on our opponents in the second half. It didn't end the way we wanted it, but we showed a lot of heart."
Southern Miss (3-1-1) trailed the Jaguars (5-0-1) 2-0 at the half after goals by Allison and Maha Maarouf but rallied on the back of a pair of second-half goals by Danica Roberts, who scored an unassisted goal in the 54th minute and tied the match on a penalty kick in the 65th minute.
"In the second half, every single player raised her level of play by two or three levels," El-Zare said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win. We out-shot our opponent and got several quality shots on goal. We had three balls go off the post and if any of those balls were two or three feet to the left or right the outcome would have been different.
"But, South Alabama made the plays and won the match. We congratulate them and tip our hats to them on a well-played match."
The winning keeper was South Alabama's Melissa Dirsh (4-0-1), who finished with five saves.
"This match was a good learning experience for us as we go into the next part of our season," El-Zare said. "Me made some mistakes but what I liked the most about this match was that we recognized our mistakes, adjusted and came back strong in the second half. The girls are showing a lot of maturity this season and I couldn't be happier about that."
This was the second time in as many games that Southern Miss played an overtime match. Last Sunday, the Golden Eagles defeated Southeastern Louisiana 1-0.
Southern Miss returns to action at 1 p.m. on Saturday with a home match against Mississippi State. The match will be highlighted by a visit from the staff and animals of the Hattiesburg Zoo and a free post-match soccer clinic to be hosted by the Golden Eagles.
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