Lady Lions Lead Fall with Double Wins

Lady Lions Soccer

Junior defender Katie Noonan and sophomore midfielder Maddie Kresevic fights for the ball against a Jackson State player. During the game Noonan was credited with one shot and kept a constant pressure on opposing players, getting the ball in Lady Lion possession.
The Lion’s Roar / Heather Jewell

Despite dodgy weather all week, the Lady Lions soccer team was ready for their first match of the season against the Jackson State University Tigers on Friday. The ladies would not let any rain dampen their chances of victory and the Lady Lions ended their season opener with a winning score of 2-0.

Debuting Lady Lions made impressive plays throughout the match, contributing to the winning outcome.

“Sofia Olsson provided a great presence for us up high; Christina Cutura came up in the back and was great at physically winning challenges, getting forward and connecting passes,” said Head Coach Blake Hornbuckle.

Within the starting minutes, the Lady Lions had already driven the ball down the field, past Jackson’s defense, attacking the goal and scoring.

By the seventh minute they had already taken six shots, but it was senior Kayla Vera who made it in the net.

“It starts with our fitness, being able to start off right in the back and continue throughout the full game,” said sophomore midfielder Maggie Ramsey. “In preseason we played hard, we worked hard and never took our foot off the gas petal.”

With the turf still wet from an earlier rain, the ball moved faster across the field and tested both teams’ stamina and ability to maintain form. 

“We were able to play on this field and adjust, so we were more prepared than they were, which was an advantage to us,” said junior forward Marisa Rodrigues. “The slick ball, you just have to get in front of.”

Bri Singh, typically a forward, was put in the back line and immediately established herself when she collected a 50/50 ball from an opponent.

Jackson mirrored the Lady Lions’ own aggression and collectively, the two teams gathered 21 fouls throughout the game.

Within the 77th minute, Rodrigues nailed a shot of her own into the net.

The Lady Lions had taken 21 shots by the end of the match.

“Ramsey had a fantastic game. She had a lot of headers; Utreras was really good about having the ball and connecting passes; Hope Sabadash was solid in goal,” said Hornbuckle.

During the following game on Sunday, the girls took to Mississippi Valley State and returned with another win, 5-2, increasing their young record to 2-0.

Carrying over their aggression from Friday’s match, the team had already scored four times before the time Mississippi Valley was able to respond with two of their own. The Lady Lions’ first net was just a minute into the match while the rest appeared in the second half.

Vera and Rodrigues each scored again, while senior midfielder Singh, Utreras and incoming freshman midfielder Vanessa Arzuluz had their first goals of the season.

In the 53rd minute, junior defender Katie Noonan found Arzaluz, who sent a shot straight into the goal.

In the 73rd minute Noonan assisted another goal to Utreras, who scored for a second time, her first being the opening goal.

Singh scored off a Utreras’ free kick in the 75th minute; the goal was Singh’s 23rd in her career and moved her into the sole possession of the school’s career list.

Rodrigues scored the final goal of the game in the 80th minute.

The Lady Lions will face off against the defending national champion, Florida State, at 6:00 p.m. on Friday. The match will be broadcasted on ESPN3. 

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