October 4, 2013

Miller's Golden Goal Lifts Islanders to First Conference Win

CORPUS CHRISTI – Alyssa Miller's golden goal in the 95th minute sent the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's soccer team into a frenzy, as the Islanders knocked off McNeese State 1-0. It marked the first Southland Conference victory and the first home victory in program history.

Miller finished off a tremendous run with her third goal of the year. Yvette Franco played a nice ball down the left side to a streaking Miller. The junior dribbled into the 18-yard box, cut back to her right, then sent a ball past keeper Maggie Marks and into the right corner of the goal to give the Islanders (2-9-0, 1-4-0 Southland) the victory at 94:46. McNeese fell to 5-6-1 and 0-4-0 in league play.

"Everybody is just so excited – there's a sense of pure joy," head coach Shanna Caldwell said. "It took a lot today – it was really hot, we played through some adversity. Our players just battled and wanted it. We've been so close and it felt great to get our first conference win and for it to be at home.

"I think this was a turning point for us," she added. "Every day we've been turning up at practice, been picking up our efficiency, the consistency of our practice and the level of play. Last weekend was tough because I think we could have taken both games, but we have been playing really well, firing on all cylinders. Earlier in the season that game might have slipped away from us, but today we found the back of the net. We had the will to win today."

Audrey Baldwin made two saves for her first shutout of the season in earning the victory. Marks made five saves in a losing effort for the Cowgirls.

The first half saw the majority of the action in the middle of the field, with the two teams battling for possession. McNeese had a solid opportunity in the 21st minute, as Haley Lyons found the ball inside the penalty area. The junior's first shot was stopped by Baldwin and then the rebound was thwarted by the Islanders defense.

The Islanders were limited to just two shots, but had a golden opportunity in the 40th minute. A well-played ball by Meghan Cordero was flicked on by Rachel Keeley and found its way to Franco. The freshman took a touch and got a shot off, but Marks smothered it to keep the home squad off the scoreboard.

In the second half, the Islanders ratcheted up the pressure, peppering the goal with six shots in the first 14 minutes of action. But opportunities by Audrey Kuhl and Franco were blocked, and McNeese kept the Islanders off the scoreboard. The Islanders' defense limited the Cowgirls' opportunities, holding them to four shots in the second half. In the overtime session, McNeese got off one shot, while the Islanders delivered two.

The Islanders will return to the pitch next Friday, Oct. 11, when they play host to another league contest at Dugan Stadium. Incarnate Word will visit the Coastal Bend for a 3:30 p.m. matchup. Tickets are available by calling the Islanders Athletics Ticket Office at 825-BALL (2255) or by visiting GoIslanders.com.

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