Mean Green snaps home winning streak
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 16:10
The Arkansas State Lady Red Wolves soccer team suffered its first home loss of the season, falling to the North Texas Mean Green 2-1 Friday afternoon.
“It is a tough loss. They are a very good team, and we made some small mistakes and paid dearly for them,” said ASU head coach Tafadzwa Ziyenge. “We played really well, but when you play a team like this you just can’t afford to make mistakes.”
Rain fell most of the morning and subsided in time for first kick, but the pitch at the ASU Soccer Complex was drenched. Players scurried about, kicking up grass, water and mud as they struggled to control the ball and complete simple passes. Goal kicks routinely spun out of bounds as they were launched from the slippery playing surface.
The slickness also punished players seeking to cross from wide positions, forcing them to cut inside from the flanks. The midfield was crowded as both teams battled to find attackers in space. North Texas drew 10 offside calls as they frequently resorted to booting the ball up field in hopes that an on-running forward could bring it down and strike it toward goal.
The Mean Green initially struggled in the run of play until senior forward Michelle Young was left open in the attacking third in the 18th minute, drilling in the first goal from just within the box.
ASU nearly responded moments later when freshman forward Katey Carmichael flicked the ball just wide of the near post. Shortly after, UNT keeper Jackie Kerestine charged off her line, allowing sophomore midfielder Christina Fink to spring freshman forward Loren Mitchell, who chipped the equalizer into the far corner of the net.
The stalemate continued throughout the rest of the first half and deep into the second until the 83rd minute. Leah Cox sprinted in front of goal and, unassisted, struck the ball toward the far post, neatly finishing her chance and giving the Mean Green the winning goal.
The Red Wolves put only five of their 16 shots on frame and didn’t always push enough numbers forward to support players making runs into the box.
“We did well for the most part, but there were a few chances where we didn’t move as well as we needed to,” Ziyenge said. “There’s a reason why a team like [North Texas] is consistently in the Top 4 [of the league] – it’s because they take advantage of the mistakes you make.”
The loss snapped the Red Wolves’ seven-game home winning streak and denied them another opportunity to register their first win against North Texas, who are now 15-0-1 all-time versus ASU. The Red Wolves’ record stands at 9-6-1 and 3-3-1 in conference.
Arkansas State will close its home campaign with a Thursday match against Florida International and Florida Atlantic on Sunday. First kick is set for 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.