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Women’s soccer improves on home field

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The Marshall University Thundering Herd women’s soccer team was victorious against the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers. This win improved the Thundering Herd women to 2 – 2 – 1 overall. This was the first home field victory of the year for the Thundering Herd women.

“We’re trying to increase full commitment in stopping balls from entering our net, and at the same time increasing the commitment as far as getting the ball in the net. And I thought that was what we saw a little bit more of today, full effort in those two areas,” Marshall University head coach Kevin Long said, praising his team’s effort and commitment.

The first half was played mostly in the middle third, but with the Thundering Herd making the most of its opportunities. After a turnover by ETSU, the Marshall defense initiated a counter attack, quickly playing the ball forward. The attack culminated in Jayne Lawman sliding an expertly placed through ball to a sprinting Jordan Sackaris. The ball, placed through the ETSU defense, left Sackaris one on one with ETSU goal keeper Jasmine Elliott. Elliott charged at the striding forward, but the shot made it past her and went right into the back of the net early into the contest.

Sophomore Jayne Lawman defends the ball during the match versus East Tennessee State at the Hoops Family Field, September 4, 2016.

Ryan Fischer | The Parthenon
Sophomore Jayne Lawman defends the ball during the match versus East Tennessee State at the Hoops Family Field, September 4, 2016.

Midway through the first half, Sydney Arnold capped off another Thundering Herd attack. Katie Suchodolski played a volley into the goal box, and Arnold timed the volley landing and blasted it into the lower right hand corner of the goal.

ETSU had a few offensive spurts, but that was due to the Marshall defensive backline playing in almost perfect alignment, allowing no shots on goal, only one shot total, and holding the Buccaneers off the scoreboard. While Marshall University goal keeper Emily Moreland had to make some plays, there was little pressure placed upon her in the first half.

The second half saw more of the same, but with ETSU playing with more vigor and taking more chances. While neither team could make the most of their chances early, the Buccaneers were making solid attempts on goal. But the Marshall back line was keen on keeping a clean sheet on the scoreboard.

Sophomore forward Ashley Seltzer holds posession during the match versus East Tennessee State at the Hoops Family Field, September 4, 2016.

Ryan Fischer | The Parthenon
Sophomore forward Ashley Seltzer holds posession during the match versus East Tennessee State at the Hoops Family Field, September 4, 2016.

A slightly underappreciated value in Coach Kevin Long’s tactics may be the substitutions made. While every player strives to do their best and get the recognition of a starting role, key substitutions were pivotal in the contest.

Suchodolski had been in the game approximately three minutes when she set up the volley where Arnold scored. Entering the game around the twenty-minute mark, she showed a quicker pace than the ETSU defenders and made key plays.

Gabby Powers provided a boost late, pocketing an unassisted goal. After turning on a defender, Powers belted a shot from just outside the box, placing it in the top right corner.

“I think we had a great team performance today. We came out a lot stronger than we did on Friday, we were a lot more focused, and played more focused as a team and it bode well for us. We came away with a 3-0 win, with no goals against,” senior forward Jordan Parkhurst said.

Freshman defender Metz Gonzalez passes the ball during the match versus East Tennessee State at the Hoops Family Field, September 4, 2016.

Ryan Fischer | The Parthenon
Freshman defender Metz Gonzalez passes the ball during the match versus East Tennessee State at the Hoops Family Field, September 4, 2016.

Parkhurst also entered the game as a substitute and provided an offensive lift to the team, adding three shots, with one on target.

“We made a couple adjustments in terms of the personnel,” ETSU head coach Adam Sayers said about his team’s improvement after halftime. “The set-up of the team was the same, but we moved the players around. We said ‘this has to be a better performance; we know we’re better than this.’”

Sayers later said the Thundering Herd was the better team of the day and credited Marshall University head coach Kevin Long.

“Full credit to Marshall, Kevin’s done a great job. They are a strong team, I know they are young, but they didn’t show it today,” Coach Sayers said.

The Thundering Herd women’s team plays their next game at Ohio University and their next game at home Sept. 15 against Western Kentucky University in the first conference game.

Joseph Ashley can be reached at [email protected]

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