SAN MARCOS – Despite a one-hour delay due to a referee scheduling error, which spurred an impromptu vuvuzela practice session by members of the men’s soccer team and a penalty kick shootout with fans in attendance, the Cal State San Marcos women’s soccer team was finally able to take to the field to try and protect their undefeated record against the University of Texas, Brownsville Scorpions Sept. 11.
The Cougars, going into play with a 5-0-1 record, were buoyed by the team’s depth and it proved to be enough to handle the Scorpions quickness. Midfielder Mary Green scored the first goal in the 17th minute of the first half, with an assist from forward Shelby Bush.
Two of the Cougars’ key players, captain and leading goal-scorer Lauren Johnson was out with a hamstring injury, and midfielder Kaleigh Dodson was out with a knee injury. Coach Ron Pulvers said he was hopeful they could get both players back after the team’s upcoming 10 day rest.
“We had moments of goodness and some bad moments,” said Pulvers of the team’s performance on the field. “Credit to Brownsville, it’s a very good team that moves the ball well.”
Pulvers said Bush, who struggled a little bit in the first half responded well after a halftime talk and caused the Scorpions a lot of problems, including scoring the second goal in the 50th minute, her fourth of the season.
“I think our pace and our athletic ability really stretched them out and caused them to be pulled apart, which allowed that second goal to happen,” Pulvers said.
He also said he was hoping for a third goal to really put the game out of reach. Instead, the Scorpions energized late in the second half and scored in the 84th minute to come within one, forcing the Cougars to tighten up and refocus.
“They really, really picked it up at the end of the game,” said defensive midfielder Amy Alber. “Then we got our act together at the last second,” she said. “I think the last five minutes was more like a battle (of) who could rough it out, more than technical skills.”
We really focus on organization in practice, Alber added. “Our coaches are shoving that down our throats. It’s a good thing, though; we practice a lot and it goes to show that it pays off. If you work hard, practice hard, then you’re going to win.”
Aside from the excitement of starting the season undefeated, Pulvers said their goal is to be playing here Nov. 19 in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament. “We’re winning games for that purpose,” he said.
The No. 10 ranked Cougars next returns to action Sept. 21 at home against Concordia-Irvine.