The Miners soccer team dropped a pair of tough matches this past weekend. On Friday, the ladies travelled to Stephen F. Austin, and were edged 1-0. Then, on Sunday, the Miners battled Texas State to a stalemate after 90 minutes. Texas State put the ball into the net in overtime and came away with a 1-0 win.
Coach Cross talked about the contests and this weekends matches against UALR and Northern Colorado.
“Friday night, was the best team we’ve played on our schedule. Stephen F. Austin is a very good team. They’re picked to win their conference. It was a pretty even game. We had one defensive breakdown, and they capitalized on it, and that’s all she wrote, on that one,” said Coach Cross.
“We really got after it, on Sunday we actually played really good soccer. We had our chances, and we just didn’t put them away. Sometimes soccer can be cruel, but it was a learning experience, and we’re going to let it motivate us, learn from it, and be ready for this Friday.”
The Miners held the Texas State team to one Shot On Goal in the second half, after allowing 6 in the first half. I asked if he had made adjustments at the half or if that was just the way it played out.
“The girls played good soccer. The girls had a good game. They just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. That’s the sad thing about soccer. Sometimes you can play well and not win. It was a bit cruel, the way it went, but we’ll just let it make us better’” Coach Cross explained.
In any soccer match, perhaps 90 to 95 percent of what happens is controlled by the teams play, but there is that fraction of each game that is just the luck of a game. A ball bouncing off of a player unexpectedly. The ricochet off of a post to a wide open player, a player that may have actually been out of place. The goal scored in the Texas State game was one of those goals in which luck played a role.
Coach Cross talked about that, “The goal they scored, we tackled it, and the ball just kind of deflected off someone to the right person, and sometimes it is just those bounces, unfortunately. I like to control it as much as we can, but sometimes it boils down to that.”
He talked about the teams being pretty evenly matched, “I think both games could have gone either way. They were both quality teams.”
One of the strategies teams have employed against the Miners so far, is to pack the defense in around their goals. So I asked Coach about how his team has to deal with that.
“We’re going to work on that all week. Being able to finish under pressure. Be more than one player to score a goal, and numbers down attacking,” said Coach.
I asked if going over the top, using headers, was another way of attacking the defense when it is packed that way.
“Sometimes, that’s a great option, when they’re really packed in, to go over the top like that. But, we had our opportunities in that Texas State game. We just didn’t capitalize on them, unfortunately,” he said.
Turning to this week, we talked about the upcoming matches. On Friday, the Miners will host UALR with the World Soccer Night promotion. Wear an International soccer team jersey, and get in free.
Coach Cross said, “They seem to be a good side (UALR). They’ve got some speed. I think it’s a team we’re going to have to be our best at to win. Pretty comparable to what we saw this weekend, and Northern Colorado’s traditionally had a real good team. So, it’s a tough weekend. The positive is that we’re here at University Field, which is where we love to play.”
There are no more cupcakes on the Miners schedule, and that’s good preparation for the tough competition the Miners will face once they get into Conference USA play.