September 29, 2013

Islanders Soccer Topped 2-1 by Oral Roberts

TULSA, Okla. – Mary-Kate Halsmer's goal with less than four minutes remaining snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted Oral Roberts (8-2-0, 3-0-0 Southland) to a 2-1 victory over the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's soccer team on Sunday. Brooke Erdmann scored her first career goal in the loss for the Islanders (1-9-0, 0-4-0).

It marked the fourth time in as many games that A&M-Corpus Christi has been edged by one goal in conference action. On three of those occasions, the Islanders have found themselves in a tie game in the second half.

"We battled for 90 minutes today," head coach Shanna Caldwell said, "and that's the tough part about this game – sometimes you come out on the wrong side of the score. Today was the best soccer we've played all year. Our movement off the ball was great and we created some great chances.

"Everything about today was positive and I think we have made the adjustment to come out strong from the first whistle," she added. "The results might not be there on the box score but this team continues to improve and battle and play better every game. I'm very proud of them."

Audrey Baldwin made five saves for the visitors, and added several brilliant plays to thwart ORU attacks with her aggressiveness. Maddie Rhodes made five saves in the victory for Oral Roberts. Erdmann led the Islanders with five shots and received the only yellow card of the match for either team.

The Golden Eagles struck first, with Kayla Keller putting the home squad ahead in the 27th minute. Halsmer sent a nicely angled ball toward the left side, and Keller chased it down, moved into the box, and sent a shot just out of the reach of Baldwin and into the lower right corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead at 26:51.

The Islanders were not without their opportunities in the first half, though, unleashing eight shots in the frame. Erdmann led the way with four shots, as the freshman had several strong opportunities, two of her shots being turned aside by Rhodes.

A&M-Corpus Christi came out of the half the aggressors, coming right after the Golden Eagles. In the 53rd minute, that pressure delivered results, with Erdmann netting her first career tally. Yvette Franco came in along the end line and her shot was saved by Rhodes, but the rebound carried toward Erdmann, where she headed into the back of the net to tie the score 1-1 at the 52:59 mark.

"Our goal was the result of the hard work we put in up top," Caldwell said. "Yvette didn't quit on the ball and was able to battle through two defenders to get a shot off and Brooke worked hard to be in the box and sacrifice her body to put it in the back of the net."

The game continued back-and-forth into the closing minutes, when Halsmer came through with some heroics. The Golden Eagles worked the ball to her just outside of the far corner of the box, and Halsmer created some space for herself and bent a shot into the right-hand corner of the net to regain the lead with just 3:37 left. The Islanders had one last effort, but came up short in their pursuit for another equalizer.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi returns home this weekend, for a single conference affair, as the team plays host to McNeese State on Friday afternoon at 3:30 at the Dr. Jack Dugan Family Soccer & Track Stadium. For tickets, call 825-BALL (2255) or visit GoIslanders.com.