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Soccer: Ragin' Cajuns Thump Nicholls 5-1 At Home
LAFAYETTE – A brace from senior Haley Boroch, goals from seniors Rebecca Foley, Kimberly Grasso and yet another goal from junior Emily Emanis helped the Louisiana women's soccer team eclipse the Nicholls Colonels to a 5-1 victory here tonight at the Ragin' Cajuns Soccer/Track Complex.
The win was the Cajuns third of the season improving their record to 3-4-0, and it was the most goals scored by a Cajuns side since a 10-0 win against Alcorn State on Aug. 21, 2016.
Nicholls loss drops their record to 2-4-0 and it's their second loss of the weekend, having dropped their match at Alcorn State on Friday, Sep. 8, 1-0.
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Half): From the first whistle the Ragin' Cajuns were out to dominate and set a pace that the Colonels couldn't handle.
Almost immediately Louisiana began pushing the tempo and pressuring the final third and in the fourth minute freshman Una Einarsdottir took the first shot of the game that was blocked right in front of goal, but the Cajuns were only getting started.
Senior Whitney Taggart began her aggressive first half with a header on goal in the eighth minute. And less then 10 minutes later, in the 15th minute she took yet another shot on goal really working the Nicholls keeper, Taylor Benoit, early and often.
It didn't take long for the Cajuns to cash in on their work ethic and a foul on Nicholls, in the 25th minute, gave the Cajuns a free kick from 25 yards out.
With the ball sitting just on the right side, Einarsdottir stepped up and calmly sent a ball to the far post, where Foley was waiting to pounce.
As the ball slipped past several Colonels defenders, Foley attacked without fear and headed the ball inside the left post past a diving Benoit to give the Cajuns the quick 1-0 lead.
The goal was the first of Foley's career and she took it in stride not letting her teammates lose focus and making sure they knew that the work wasn't done.
As the half rolled along, the Cajuns made sure to follow Foley's example and they maintained not only possession but heavy pressure in the Colonels final third.
Evident of this was Taggart's hard work late in the half.
In the 35th minute Louisiana sent a ball into the box where Taggart sent a header on goal, which was saved, but she followed her own shot and made Benoit hit the dirt to make yet another quick save off Taggart's foot.
With the half coming to an end, and the Cajuns sitting on a 1-0 lead, senior Ashleigh Cade took a throw-in during the 44th minute and showed off her cannon as she sent the ball into the box.
Boroch's eyes lit up when she saw the perfect throw come in to the far post, and she coolly flicked a header that went across Benoit's face and into the right side of the net.
As the Cajuns exploded in celebration the half came to an end, and Louisiana sat on a 2-0 lead heading into the break. But the night was far from over.
HOW IT HAPPENED: (Second Half): Head coach Scot Wieland made a few changes during the half, to give his starters a much-deserved rest. The new lineup wasted no time getting into the flow of the match, with junior Lexi Turner sending a shot high in the 54th minute. Followed quickly by Boroch, Grasso and junior Alexis Miller all sending shots at the Colonels, none of which went on goal, but the message had been sent.
As the Cajuns kept the pressure on, Grasso put yet another shot on goal in the 59th minute showing that she had come off the bench ready to play.
A testament to the work ethic put together by the Cajuns defense, sophomore Mackenzie Lee faced her first shot in the 65th minute, which she easily saved.
But it seemed the Cajuns took It personally and said to the Colonels how dare you get a shot, and the Cajuns set out to pad their lead.
In the 68th minute senior Denice Emokpae worked the ball in the far corner, acting like she might have been attempting to burn some clock. But she was playing with her head up and when she saw that Grasso had planted herself in front of goal, Emokpae sent the ball without hesitation.
Grasso took the pass from Emokpae and one timed the shot right into the bottom right of the corner for her first goal of the season. It was Grasso's first goal she's scored since Nov. 4, 2015 against South Alabama.
Louisiana, having a 3-0 lead, could have sat back and defended but they were far from done.
In the 76th minute they struck again.
Grasso worked the ball into the box, and when a Colonels defender quickly closed on her she poked the ball out to Boroch on the far left top corner of the box.
Boroch received the pass took one look at goal, and sent a perfect shot that floated over a fully extended Benoit into the top right corner for the Cajuns fourth goal of the match. It was Boroch's second goal of the game, something she hasn't done since the Cajuns 10-0 over Alcorn State on Aug. 21, 2016.
From there the Cajuns made a few changes, biggest being a change in goal. Freshman Victoria Ryan came in during the 82nd minute to take over the keeping duties from Lee. But the change in goal didn't effect Louisiana's effort or their pressure in the final third.
Freshman Ally Busalacchi lined up a corner in the 84th minute that she sent beautifully into the box. In the box were two Cajuns players, and the ball, playing its own game of pinball, bounced off the heads of freshman Julianne DeBileux and sophomore Erika Sierra before floating towards the goal.
Crashing the net was junior Emily Emanis who's header was forcefully sent into the net past Benoit to ice the match for the Cajuns putting the score at 5-0.
Although Nicholls did end the clean sheet immediately after the Cajuns fifth goal, the late goal from the Colonels didn't spoil the party for the Cajuns.
When the final whistle blew, Louisiana had truly dominated from start to finish on both ends of the pitch and earned themselves a satisfying 5-1 victory.
NOTEWORTHY: Lee's solid night increased her record to 3-1-0 on the season and she's sitting high in the Sun Belt Conference in two categories. Lee is second in the conference in both goals against average (0.49) and save percentage (.905); Grasso's assist was her second of the weekend. Her three assists this season puts her tied for second in the conference overall standings.
Taggart set a new career high with the most shots (five) and shots on goal (four) in a game; Miller added three shots off the bench; Boroch's brace ties her with a collection of Sun Belt Conference players, with the most goals in a game and the most points (four) in a game so far this season.
The Cajuns had the most shots (25) and shots on goal (12) in a game since a 1-1 draw against Georgia State on Sep. 16, 2016; The Cajuns lead the conference in shots taken (101) and assists per game (1.43);
Louisiana sits tied for first with Troy in assists (10) and their six assists tonight are the second highest in a game for a Sun Belt team sitting just behind Troy's seven at Jackson State on Aug. 27; Their 16 points are the second most in a game this season in the conference and their five goals ties them with Little Rock for the second most scored in a game so far, this season.
UP NEXT: The Cajuns kick off conference play next weekend with two matches on the road. First, they head to Jonesboro, Ark., to take on Arkansas State on Friday, Sep. 15 with that match starting at 4 p.m. Louisiana then heads to Little Rock, Ark., to take on the Little Rock Trojans on Sunday, Sep. 17 and that match starts at 1 p.m.
Follow @RaginCajunsSOC on twitter for links to live streaming and stats along with updates and news regarding the Ragin' Cajuns soccer team.
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