Volleyball and soccer stumble in conference play

Golden Eagle soccer and volleyball teams experienced a rough weekend, going 0-1-1 and 0-1 in conference play, respectively.

USM soccer (6-3-3, 0-1-1) played its first conference match in Denton, Texas, on Friday, Sept. 27, and the match ended in a double-overtime draw against the Mean Green of North Texas (7-3-1, 1-0-1). Danica Roberts made the only USM goal off a deflected ball, and freshman goalie Brittany Taylor made 12 saves with only one goal against.

“This was a massive result for us,” said first-year head coach Mohammed El-Zare. “In terms of how the team played together and battled through to the finish of a tough match against a great opponent, I couldn’t be prouder.”

North Texas recorded wins against Oklahoma and TCU prior to playing the Golden Eagles at home. The Mean Green also played No. 9 Wake Forest, and recorded their first conference win over Louisiana Tech on Sept. 29.

On Sunday, the UTEP Miners defeated the Golden Eagles in El Paso in a 1-0 overtime match. It was USM’s sixth overtime match of the season. With half of their matches going into overtime, USM’s record against opponents in overtime matches is 1-2-3.

Despite the loss, the Eagles’ Taylor performed well. Of UTEP’s seven shots on goal, Taylor saved six of them with only one goal against. Taylor saved a total of 18 shots on goal out of 20.

The offense struggled to produce against both North Texas and UTEP. Both the Mean Green and the Miners combined for 20 shots on goal while the Eagles had only seven total, five against North Texas and two against UTEP.

Meanwhile USM volleyball (9-7, 0-1) fell to the UAB Blazers (12-5, 1-0) in Birmingham on Friday, Sept. 27, in five sets. Four Golden Eagles recorded double-digit kills in the volleyball team’s shootout: Elise Ames led with 17, Quinci Hayward and Lydia Bonner had 13 each, while Stephany Purdue added 11.

The match remained neck-and-neck until the Blazers claimed the fifth set with a 15-8 victory. Overall, the Golden Eagles had 63 kills on .249 hitting, 85 digs and six team blocks; whereas, the Blazers were more efficient with 76 on .302 hitting, 80 digs, eight aces and six team blocks.

Defensively, Mary Pursell, Alex Pfefferle, Shelby Russell and Purdue combined for an impressive 76 digs. Kristen Fleming recorded 50 assists in the volleyball team’s first conference match.

USM soccer will return to action on Friday, Oct. 4 against Tulsa in USM’s first Conference USA home game. The USM volleyball team will play on Oct. 4 as well, hosting North Texas in their annual Dig Pink contest.