The Wildcats’ soccer team could not secure a win in its first game of the season, as it fell to the University of Tulsa, 1-0, in Oklahoma. ACU could not hold off a barrage of shots on goal and a relentless offensive attack by the Golden Hurricane.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Newton recorded a career high of eight saves during the game, beating her record of seven in last year’s home victory against Houston Baptist. The lone, deciding goal came in the 54th minute after forwards Lauren King and Madison Smith teamed up to put the ball in the back of the net past Newton. The Golden Hurricane would finish the game with an impressive 15 shots on goal, testing the endurance of Newton and the ‘Cats’ defensive line from the opening whistle.
While the ‘Cats battled at the defensive end of the field, the offensive line struggled to infiltrate the Hurricane’s tough defense. Freshman Maria Gomez got the Wildcats’ first shot on goal off in the 41st minute and her attempt was followed by two more made by sophomore Natalie Throneberry in the final five minutes of regulation. The late shots didn’t bring ACU a late victory, but were still proof of the high energy the ‘Cats maintained throughout the game.
“I think after playing Tulsa we got a really good gauge of where we are at already,” said senior forward Taylor Brown. “I have really high expectations from us because we have the personnel.”
Brown is playing in her fourth and final season with the ‘Cats and sees as much promise for the team as newcomer Baylee Mitchell.
“Even though we didn’t get the result we wanted, it was a good way to start effort-wise,” said freshman forward Mitchell. “Every player worked hard for each other throughout the game and I think moving forward it was a game to learn from.”
Brown and Mitchell believe in the team’s ability to move forward with positive attitudes and have high hopes for the rest of the season. Tulsa’s tough program tested the Wildcats at both ends of the field, but the challenge was well-received and the message was loud and clear.
“It was a really good game and experience for us that will really fire us up for the rest of the season.” Brown said, reflecting the rest of the team’s optimism and determination.
The ‘Cats’ plan is to push forward with this game as a lesson to learn from rather than just a loss on the board. The team will focus on the rest of the season and, more specifically, their next two home games against the University of Texas at El Paso and Wayland Baptist University.