Posted at 12 p.m. Oct. 18, 2013

 

Photo by Kasey M. Orr

Streak stalled

Golden Eagles' win streak ends, but they are far from beaten.

By Kasey M. Orr
Co-editor

The Golden Eagles’ women’s soccer team is still perched in the top five of the national ranks as they enter the final leg of the regular season 10-1-1 after a series of home games, ending with a three-game weekend Sept. 27–29.

Laramie County Community College’s 10-game winning streak was chilled by a tightly contested match Sept. 29 against Otero Junior College. The teams spent equal time on both sides of the pitch, each having trouble getting all the way to the opposite goal.

Otero scored an early goal, playing with an intensity the women’s team had not yet faced in conference play.

In the early season, the Eagles had gone up against several top-15 teams, but LCCC’s head coach, Jim Gardner, said the lack of tough opponents in conference games for the past few weeks has been unhelpful.

“That hasn’t helped us any,” he said. “It took us about 20 minutes to get back into the game after [Otero] scored.”

In minute 25 Morgan Wyant, assisted by Yuko Shinomiya, finally answered Otero’s early goal and put the Golden Eagles on the board. The teams would go into double-overtime before calling it a draw at 1–1.

Both Gardner and his players knew they would be meeting their first stiff competition with Otero and had planned and played accordingly earlier in the week.

“It was our first time of having four full days of practice in the last three weeks,” Gardner said Sept. 27 after the team’s 5–1 win against Northwest College.

“We did a good job of following through with what we practiced,” Gardner said.

“We focused on a lot of individual things, gettin’ in the box, combination play.”

The following day in the game against Sheridan College, Gardner continued his liberal substitution strategy from the day before. It didn’t seem to slow them down, though, as the LCCC team emerged a 4–1 for its second win in as many days.

“I’ve subbed more minutes than I have all year long,” Gardner said. “I’ll bet starters got a third less playing time than they normally get.” This was an important tactic for the Golden Eagles who were saving their legs for the Sunday game against Otero. Having three games in as many days is unusual for conference play but had become necessary when the originally scheduled game against Otero had been postponed because of weather.

At press time, the women were already on the road to Otero Junior College to see whether they could pull out a win Oct. 4, followed by a game against Trinidad Junior College the next day. The last game against Trinidad ended in a Golden Eagles’ eight-goal shutout.

With the regular season quickly drawing to an end, lead scorer Taylor Hockley is ranked 27th in the nation with 12 goals and holding fourth place with four game-winning goals.

She is followed for goals by middle-forward Sayit Mejia-Bello with six goals. Francesca Ali continues to be a force to be reckoned with in midfield, and defenders like Eri Unai continue to step up and stand out.

The women’s team moved from No. 2 to No. 3 in the national polls. However, the change was mostly because of Iowa Western slipping over LCCC’s win percentage by 0.017 percent. But the season isn’t over yet.

 

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