Golden Eagles lose season opener, 2-1

The Southern Miss soccer team dropped their season opener at home to Nicholls State 2-1 Friday despite leading in both shots and shots on goal.

Nicholls’ goalkeeper was the difference in the game as she finished with six saves while surrendering just one goal. It was clear that she has an innate ability to make the correct read when attempting to block a shot.

The Golden Eagles got on the scoreboard early in the sixth minute when Breann Hedin passed to Rebekah McMullan who split two defenders before driving the ball past the diving Mosley into the back of the net. It was McMullan’s first collegiate goal.

USM only managed one more shot the rest of the first half and had a couple miscues with an offside penalty and Brooke Hendrix receiving a yellow card. Nicholls’ Kristy Tatom knotted the game at one in the 38th minute as she placed the ball right over Brittany Taylor’s head off an assist from Kaitlyn Caro. Two minutes later, Caro assisted on another goal for Nicholls with Kirstie Champagne sneaking it past Taylor in the right corner of the net.

There was not any goals scored in the second period, but it was far from a snooze fest. USM turned up their offensive pace in the second half attempting 13 shots compared to just three in the first half. Ashley Johnson and Hedin led the offensive attack for USM with four shots each.

While USM failed to get their first win in the season opener, there were many encouraging signs and head coach Mohammed El-Zare was pleased with the effort. “It is very heartbreaking for the girls. That is the way the game is,” El-Zare said. “You can play well, create chances and the other team capitalizes on opportunities and they win. That is soccer. If you look at the box score, we had (more) opportunities, but we were unable to capitalize on opportunities and they did.”

USM was slated to take on Mississippi Valley State on Sunday, but the game was postponed until further notice. Administrators from both sides said they were working on rescheduling the match, but no make-up date has been announced.

Instead, the Golden Eagles will play their second match on Friday against Jackson State at home. Kickoff is for 4 pm.