Golden Eagles soccer team plays big at home

The Southern Miss soccer team (3-0-1) tacked on two more victories this weekend as they opened their home schedule in Hattiesburg, Miss. The Golden Eagles began with a big 8-0 win over the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lady Lions (0-4) on Friday, then capped the weekend with a double overtime 1-0 win against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions (3-1).

In Friday’s game, the Eagles bombarded the Lady Lions’ with 42 shots, 55 percent of which were on goal. While UAPB keeper Alyssa Cobbs made 15 saves, but could not stop seven USM players from scoring. After five minutes of play, Danica Roberts, the senior forward from West Yorkshire, England, scored the first goal off an assist from Mischa Tice. USM later added four unassisted goals, scored by Chelsea Cruthirds, Missy Wentz, Somer Jones and Anya Koren.

“It was a great win,” said Mohammed El-Zare, USM’s head coach. “What I liked the most was that we came out and, right away, dictated the tempo of the game and scored some early goals. To me, that shows that there is a maturity on this team. We came in and set the tone early.”

USM’s defense was just as impressive, not allowing UAPB to get off any shots. Sunday’s game, however, was a very different story. Though USM handed Southeastern its first loss of the season, the win did not come easily.

The Lions popped off 13 shots, and Southeastern Louisiana keeper Hope Sabadash recorded 11 saves with only one goal against in over 104 minutes of play. USM outperformed the Lions with 22 shots and a goal in the 104th minute, scored by Missy Wentz, a redshirt senior from Katy, Texas. Wentz scored off an assist from redshirt freshman Kay Kay Hypolite, a Hattiesburg native and Oak Grove High School alum.

Like USM’s other games, keepers Lindsey Schwaner and Brittany Taylor have shared goalkeeper duties. The duo combined for nine saves against the Lions, but it was Taylor who stopped the Lions from tasting victory in the first overtime. With two minutes left to play Taylor made a diving save to prevent Southeastern’s Casey Peacock from scoring an unassisted goal.

“I am so proud of this entire team,” El Zare said after the game. “We played a great match against a solid, well-coached team. We were aggressive and controlled the tempo of the match and gave ourselves a lot of chances… I could not be prouder.”

USM’s home stretch continues this weekend, as the Eagles will play South Alabama at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, followed by a Sunday game against Mississippi State at 1 p.m.