HUNTSVILLE - Just like that the Bearkats sit atop the Southland Conference women’s soccer standings.
Freshman Kalynn Bickford scored a golden goal on a penalty kick in overtime to lift Sam Houston State (3-5-0 overall, 1-0-0 in SLC) to a 3-2 victory over Central Arkansas in the league opener Friday evening at Pritchett Field. It is the first time the Bearkats have defeated the Sugar Bears (1-6-1, 0-10) since 2015.
Sam Houston State had to overcome a 2-0 deficit after the defending Southland champions scored a goal from Taylor Webb in the 14th minute and another by Emma Hawkins 13 minutes into the second half.
The Bearkats struggled to mount much of an offensive threat, but the tide quickly changed. Junior Briana Woodall cleaned up a loose ball on a goalkeeper block and pushed the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to cut the lead to 2-1 in the 73rd minute.
Sam Houston State wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard again. Less than a minute later, freshman Kenzie Arrington sent the ball into the UCA box, and senior Sammi Mayock played it past Sugar Bears goalkeeper Reagan McCombs into the top right corner of the goal to knot the match at 2.
With neither team being able to break the tie, the match went to overtime.
Halfway through the 15-minute period, Woodall drew a foul in the box when she was clipped by a UCA defender. Bickford took the penalty kick and punched the ball into the top right corner for an easy goal as McCombs guessed and dove to the left.
It was the Bearkats’ third overtime game of the season. Sam Houston State dropped the previous two both at home 2-1 to Gonzaga on Aug. 25 and Louisiana on Sept. 8.
The Bearkats are off Sunday then host Houston Baptist on Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sept. 29 at 1 p.m.