NATCHITOCHES, La. – Sam Houston State awoke offensively on Friday night and powered past Northwestern State in a physical match, 3-1, at the Demon Soccer Complex.
The victory snapped the Bearkats’ road losing streak at eight consecutive matches, dating to last season’s two-goal victory at A&M-Corpus Christi on Sept. 25. The three Bearkat goals were the most in Southland Conference play since equaling as many on Oct. 2 a season ago vs. Lamar.
After the Demons (5-8, 1-5 Southland) tied the match 10 minutes into the second half, Sam Houston (5-7-0, 2-4-0) responded with the final two netters including the go-ahead goal from Meredith Carlson on a beautiful cross from Micaela Birt in the 73rd minute.
The match featured a combined 22 fouls, eight yellow cards and one red card – coming against NSU. The Bearkats were able to capitalize on the man advantage to snap its losing streak at three.
The netter was Smith’s first since scoring a pair against Jackson State on Aug. 24 and came on the fourth Bearkat shot of the opening half. Meanwhile, the assist was the first of the career for Suarez Crespo, who Smith temporarily matched with the team lead for goals.
The Bearkats staved off each Northwestern State opportunity early with the closest call coming in the 33rd minute as Shelby Drope’s shot hit the post. The Demons would come through in the 55th minute on the Brittany Caserma goal to tie the match.
Following Carlson’s third goal of the season, Suarez Crespo added some insurance. The forward used an excellent pass from Taylor Pritchard, racing down the right side while beating the keeper with a shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
Christina Hendershot faced 24 shots, collecting four saves while improving her record to 3-5-0 on the season. It marked the second-straight match in which the junior has allowed just one goal. Hendershot was helped by another strong effort from the back line.
Sam Houston returns to action next Friday when the squad faces Nicholls. The match will be senior night for the squad as Ashley Long and Beryl Smith will be recognized prior to the 6:30 p.m. kick. The team closes the weekend with Pink Out on Sunday against Southeastern Louisiana at 1 p.m.
Head coach Tom Brown on the 3-1 victory…
“I think we got a good goal early and had another one that looked like it might have crossed before half. We did a good job to respond on their goal with Meredith where she calmly strikes the ball into the back of the net. It was something we talked about prior to the game. I was proud of them. We withstood their pressure at the end. There was good portion where the game could have gotten out of control. I was glad our players kept with their composure and dealt with the physical play.”
Head coach Tom Brown on the confidence gained from winning on the road…
“I think for us right now it’s the confidence of getting a win. We are coming home with two important matches. This one win really helps us so much as we prepare for next week. We know we’ll have a couple important on the road after that but we’ll point to this one when we get to those.”
Head coach Tom Brown on the offensive ball control…
“I thought in the first half we did a good job of that. We kind of lost our way for about the first 30 minutes of the second half. We wanted to get in behind them. We didn’t do a good job with a purpose. I thought as the game wore on where we got the second and third goals, we did a good job. The second and third goals, those passes were very purposeful and put it to the areas we spoke about.”