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Soccer: Cajuns Charge Past Arkansas State 2-1 In Overtime
JONESBORO, ARK. – Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's soccer team got their Sun Belt Conference play off to an exciting start while earning three big road points here at Arkansas State when in the 94th minute after earning a penalty shot, freshman Una Einarsdottir calmly took to the spot and cleanly sent home the winning goal for the Cajuns to beat the Red Wolves 2-1 in overtime here at the A-State Soccer Complex.
Louisiana starts off conference play with a big road win getting three points to raise their record to 4-4-0 (1-0-0 SBC), while Arkansas State drops their first conference match putting their record at 3-4-0 (0-1-0 SBC).
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Half): The hardest thing to do in conference is to get three points on the road, for the Cajuns the three points they got tonight were not given but earned.
Louisiana's road to victory started off with them setting a pace they kept for most of the match and in the fourth minute Einarsdottir got her first shot of the match nailing the crossbar with a powerful shot.
From there the Cajuns kept pushing the tempo, making sure they kept possession, while keeping the pressure off sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Lee.
Shots from senior Kimberly Grasso (27th minute), Einarsdottir yet again (31st minute) and sophomore Kaylie Powell (34th minute) all showed that the Cajuns were asking the questions throughout the first half.
In fact, through the entire half, the Red Wolves didn't record a single shot on goal, as Lee maintained her readiness the Cajuns defense played stingy and wouldn't let the Red Wolves within even a sight of goal.
As time was winding down in the first half, the Cajuns' hard work and strong possession finally paid off.
Senior Denice Emokpae worked a ball through the Red Wolves defense, catching a few defenders flat footed, and she made sure they paid the ultimate price.
With only eight seconds left in the half, Emokpae sent the ball scooting past Red Wolves keeper, Megan McClure, to shock the Red Wolves and give the Cajuns a 1-0 advantage heading into the break.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Half): With the second half underway, the Cajuns weren't ready to let up on the Red Wolves, and they yet again set the tone when in the 48th minute, off a Einarsdottir corner, senior Whitney Taggart sent a header just wide of goal.
But the message had been sent, and the Cajuns weren't backing down determined to get three on the road.
While the Red Wolves stepped up their game, becoming more active in the second half, the Cajuns defense stayed focused and through the middle parts of the half the Cajuns kept the Red Wolves from getting a shot on goal.
In the 69th minute senior Ashleigh Cade took a shot that flew just wide of goal, followed shortly by freshman Ally Busalacchi, in the 70th minute, taking a shot off a corner from junior Alexis Miller.
The match entered the final 10 minutes and the Cajuns were still on top, but Arkansas State earned a corner that set up a tying goal.
At the 81st minute mark the Red Wolves Taylor Schneider received that corner, sending a powerful header just barely past a diving Lee to even up the score at 1-1.
But Lee wasn't fazed by the goal, because in the 86th minute she was tested yet again, this time passing with flying colors.
Arkansas State's Abby Harris took a ball off to the left side and had a clear shot at goal, but Lee saw it and reacted perfectly. She timed her leap just right and as the ball was sent towards the left post, Lee dove to her right and made a big time save to make sure there would be overtime.
With the score tied at 1-1, the match headed into a golden goal overtime period with two ten minute halves scheduled. The Cajuns wouldn't need anywhere near that much time.
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Overtime): As overtime began the Cajuns began yet again to ask all the questions and a massive scrum in front of the Arkansas net gave the Cajuns a bigtime payoff.
After a few bodies hit the floor, the official blew his whistle and without hesitation, pointed directly to the spot. Einarsdottir knew it was her time.
Stepping up to the spot, where she's beginning to make a name for herself, Einarsdottir ended the match with one swift and confident kick sending the ball past the diving keeper.
She leaped for joy and was swarmed by her Cajuns teammates as the three points the Cajuns had worked so hard for had finally been locked up.
Getting three points in conference play is hard enough, doing it on the road is even harder. But Friday night the Cajuns showed that determination and confidence will lead to victory as they leave Jonesboro with a 2-1 well-earned victory.
NOTEWORTHY: The penalty kick scored by Einarsdottir is already the second of her career, as she is putting together a memorable freshman campaign; Not to be outdone Emokpae's goal was her second of the season; Grasso made her first start of the season and was busy recording three shots on the day; Powell, Taggart and senior Rebecca Foley each played the entire game racking up 93 plus minutes for the entire match; Lee's solid match improves her record to 4-1-0 on the season and it's her first career conference win.
For the Cajuns, it's the first overtime win in conference play since needing two overtimes to beat Troy in Troy, Alabama on Sept. 25, 2016; It's the first time in school history they've won their conference opener with an overtime victory; It's only the second time that Arkansas State and Louisiana have played an overtime match and the Cajuns won that one in Jonesboro with an identical score, 2-1, on Oct. 1, 2006.
UP NEXT: The Cajuns continue their first weekend of conference play with a trip to Little Rock on Sunday, Sept. 17 as they look to start off conference play with two big wins.
Live stats of the match will be provided courtesy of Little Rock and the link to the live stats is available on the RaginCajuns.com website.
Follow @RaginCajunsSOC on twitter for up to date information and match day links going forward.
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