Southern Miss Soccer suffers first home loss against UAB

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Photos By: Sean Smith

The Golden Eagles (6-3-1) lost its first home game of the season as the UAB Blazers took the match 2-1 in overtime.

With less than two minutes in the game, UAB’s Laura Zemberyova scored the game-winner, ending Southern Miss’ perfect home record.

“It comes down to a minute and 53 seconds, both teams are playing well and they got their chance and put it away,” Head Coach Mohammed El-Zare said. “We had a lot of chances to put the game away and we didn’t capitalize.”

The Golden Eagles dominated the game early, not letting UAB cross midfield. However, the team only managed to get one shot on goal during that period, a theme throughout the game.

For the entirety of the match, UAB outshot the Golden Eagles by 14-5.

After the first minutes, the Blazers took control, forcing Southern Miss to rely on its defense.

Senior goalkeeper and reigning Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Week Kendell Mindnich got to work early, netting four saves in the first 25 minutes. 

At the 37th minute, UAB advanced the ball down the field and got set up for a corner kick. Then, Jessica Wheeler sent the corner kick right to Asha Zuniga, who scored the goal, giving the Blazers a 1-0 lead.

“I felt that in the first half, they were definitely more ready for this game and we were not as aggressive and assertive,” El-Zare said. “We allowed them to build out of the back and get numbers in the midfield and up top.

The game went back and forth until halftime. Southern Miss had to rally to come back and try and win the game but got off to a sloppy start. Less than six minutes into the second half, Southern Miss was penalized and UAB lined up for a penalty kick. 

However, Mindnich made a crucial save that gave the Golden Eagles some life.

At the 62nd minute, the Golden Eagles found its offense as Alice Campos assisted Blessing Kingsley, who sent a shot past the Blazers’ keeper Anika Toth. Toth saved four shots on goal and allowed only this shot past.

“We were able to respond back in the second half and started defending a little better from the front and scored a nice goal,” El-Zare said.

The goal served as the equalizer and the game was contested after that, even through two periods of overtime until the Blazers scored with two minutes remaining.

“We’ve got to own it…You’re going to have some challenges, you’re going to have some ups and downs and how you respond is more important than the outcome,” El-Zare said. 

The Golden Eagles fall to 2-1 in conference play. Their next game is Oct. 8 in Ruston, Louisiana, where they will face the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.