Southern Miss Soccer routs Nicholls State in home-opener

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Junior Madisyn Flammia celebrates with teammate Adaira Nakano after scoring against Nicholls State.

Southern Miss Soccer (2-1) dominated Nicholls State University (0-3) 8-0 in its home-opener with goals from six players.

After a rain delay pushed back the start of the match, officials called the match with 14 minutes remaining due to insufficient lighting at the field.

“I was excited that all week we’ve worked on our game plan and to just come out and execute that way, is a joy. I’m proud of the girls and everybody contributed,” Southern Miss Head Coach Mohammed El-Zare said.

The Golden Eagles controlled the pace of the match, hardly allowing the Colonels to move the ball past its half of the field. Southern Miss outshot Nicholls 23-0. El-Zare credited the team’s defense for its success on the attack.

“Our offense starts from our defense because, in order to have the ball, you have to retrieve it quickly. It’s not only about attacking, but it also’s about counter-pressing and winning the ball and our positioning allowed us to do that and get into the attack,” El-Zare said.

Ariel Diaz, the Conference USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, led the Golden Eagles in the match with two goals and an assist.

Diaz got off to an early start, kicking a distance shot that curved past the keeper to strike first in the twelfth minute. She responded just three minutes later with another goal that slipped past the Colonels’ defensive line.

“The start of the game went really smoothly,” Diaz said. “Our connection was outstanding and the rhythm of the game was really good. 

Diaz described her approach to her final season of eligibility.

“I’m going to go all in and go home. I’m really excited for this season and seeing how far we can go this season,” Diaz said.

Outside of Diaz and three other returning graduates, the Golden Eagles are surrounded by youth, including 14 freshmen. Many of the freshmen have made an impact in the season and continued to contribute in the match, scoring half of the team’s goals.

“I was nervous (about the freshmen) but they came out and showed us upperclassmen and their opponents that they are here to play,” Diaz said. “It’s really exciting for them to come out here and have them on our team.”

Southern Miss took a 6-0 lead at halftime with two goals from Ilana Izquierdo and scores each from Madisyn Flammia and Mia Sadler.

Freshman Technayda Cobyte added a goal early in the second half with Elis Klein Spindola scoring the team’s final goal shortly after.

“In the second half, we tried some few things that we wanted to work on leading into the future so when they were able to execute, I was really pleased with the outcome,” El-Zare said.

Southern Miss has now won six consecutive home-openers with its victory against the Colonels. 

The 8-0 victory matched the highest-scoring home-opener since an 8-0 the game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2013.

Southern Miss will next play the Alabama Crimson Tide on Aug. 29.