After a scoreless draw against the University of Houston, following a three-game winning streak, the Lamar women’s soccer team returned to the win column by beating Nicholls State University 3-1, Friday, at the Lamar Soccer Complex, in their Southland Conference opener.
The Lady Cards have played Nicholls for the conference opener three seasons in a row.
The team’s current 6-2-1 record is an exceptional accomplishment.
“As a team, we learned from last year’s mistakes,” associate head coach Henry Zapata said. “The ladies have put in so much hard work and I think it’s paying off.”
This was the first of 12 games leading to the Southland Conference Tournament in November.
“We’re hoping to make it to the tournament,” midfielder Ana Moreno, Bogota, Colombia senior, said. “We have been playing really well this season and we’re in it to win it.”
Lamar aimed to put numbers on the scoreboard after their previous game ended in a
0-0 tie. The Lady Colonels kicked off but most of the first half was spent in their half with the Cards relentlessly pushing toward the goal, but the first half ended scoreless.
“We had our chances in the first half, but we couldn’t finish,” head coach Steve Holeman said. “(Nicholls) kept fighting, and had good passes.”
The Cards were close to scoring a goal seven different times in the first half, but the Colonels’ defense kept them at bay. However, within four minutes of the second half, forward Kelso Peskin, Cape Town, South Africa junior, scored the game’s first goal for Lamar, which was quickly followed by her and the team’s second goal.
“We showed the other teams that we’ll play that we’re capable of winning,” midfielder Samantha Moreno, Mexico City, Mexico senior, said. “That’s why (Friday’s) game was so important for us.”
Peskin, defensive midfielder M.J. Eckart, forward Lucy Ashworth, midfielder Juliana Ocampo and Samantha Moreno were Lamar’s biggest threats in the game, offensively and defensively.
“Our teammates our like family to us,” Ocampo said. “When one person succeeds, we all succeed.”
Friday was also International Players Appreciation night, honoring the eight women on the team who originate from outside the United States.
“We wanted our international students to come out and support the team,” Zapata said. “Our team is very internationally oriented. We have players from Norway, England, Colombia, Mexico, etc. It’s a good opportunity for the community to come together and support our teams.”
Several international fans in the crowd showed their support for their teammates.
“Our families can’t be here and we’re far away from home,” Ana Moreno said. “To see other international students at our games gives us more confidence and we play better.”
The Lady Cardinals play their next conference game against the University of Central Arkansas, Sept. 22, in Conway, Ark.
“The ladies played as a unit, which is why they performed so well,” Zapata said. “If we keep playing like we did (Friday), I know we’ll make it to the end.”
Story by Olivia Malick, UP staff writer