Lackluster start to conference play
After battling through their toughest pre-season schedule in recent history and emerging with a mediocre record, the Idaho soccer team was ready for WAC play.
Facing new members Texas State atnd Texas-San Antonio for the first time, the Vandals fell flat in the lone star state, returning to Moscow with a lone point after losing 2-1 Friday to Texas State and grabbing their first draw of the year after a 1-1 battle Sunday at UTSA.
The weekend trip started full of hope and optimism for Idaho (3-10-1), after senior forward Chelsea Small scored her fourth goal of the season in the 28th minute to give Idaho the 1-0 lead against the Bobcats in San Marcos.
Idaho continued to spend the rest of the match on the front foot until the final 10 minutes.
Texas State (4-8-1) pulled the game even on an 81st minute strike from Tori Hale, before taking the late lead and all three points just three minutes later via Lynsey Curry.
Idaho coach Pete Showler said the team only had themselves to blame for the loss.
“We just gave away two sloppy goals. When you probably should be four- or five-nil up and you don’t finish your chances, then you give up two half-chances, that’s what happens,” Showler said.
Idaho ended the game outshooting the Bobcats 25-7 and taking an 11-6 advantage on corner kicks as well — all that was lacking was consistent finishing.
Following the loss, the Vandals travelled just south to San Antonio to face the struggling Roadrunners (1-7-2).
In similar fashion to two days before, the Vandals took the lead against UTSA with a 54th minute strike from forward Erica Hart, only to give away another late goal, this time in the 79th minute.
With the match knotted up after 90 minutes, the drama began.
“The girls just battled well and played hard, and I’m happy to get a draw on the road against a tough team that also took Seattle to double overtime on Friday,” Showler said.
Both teams had their shots in the first 10-minute series, but neither hit the back of the net. Then in the 105th minute, an Idaho foul inside the 18-yard box gave the Roadrunners a penalty kick with five minutes left.
UTSA’s Liv Nyhegn stepped up to the spot and struck the PK that was saved by Idaho senior goalkeeper Liz Boyden to preserve the tie and give the Vandals their first conference point this season.
“Liz did what she does best and kept us in the game,” Idaho head coach Showler said. “I thought it was justice that she pulled off a great save and filled us with confidence again.
Idaho plays only once this weekend as they have a bye Thursday. The Vandals visit Seattle U. Sunday for the first-ever WAC clash between the two.
Madison McCord can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org