Women’s soccer prepare for final regular season road trip

Joseph Ashley | The Parthenon Thundering Herd senior midfielder Jayne Lawman dribbles her way past Middle Tennessee freshman midfielder Amber Hoot during Marshall’s 2-0 loss Sunday, Oct. 9. After its two game road trip in Florida this weekend, the Herd will play its final two matches of the regular season at home against UTEP and Charlotte.

The Marshall University women’s soccer team is scheduled to play Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University. The team has four games remaining with a post season berth at stake.

“We can’t look at the four games left, we have to look at the first game ahead of us,” Marshall University head coach Kevin Long said. “We’ll address the energy level, nutrition, and rest just to make sure we are best prepared.”

Coach Long continued to discuss how this young team has peaks and valleys.

“We know we can play well, but we know the youth laden team has highs and lows. It’s the first year for almost half our team, and its affecting them each differently,” Long said.

With the results from the weekend affecting the conference standings, the next four games will play a pivotal role in determining the season outcome for the Thundering Herd. As it currently stands, Marshall would reach the post season for the fourth year in a row; however, with five teams just one point behind in the standings, each game will be critical for the women. Two of the teams trailing Marshall by a single point, Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion, have only played four conference games with Marshall already playing six.

The road trip begins in Miami where Marshall will compete with Florida International University. The Panthers will enter the match up as this being their fourth home game of the season. FIU did have a game scheduled for October 9, but Hurricane Matthew forced the game to be postponed until Oct 30.

The Panthers enter the contest with the Thundering Herd with a 2-8-2 overall record with 1-3-1 in conference. While those numbers are on the bottom of the table, Marshall underestimated Middle Tennessee State University Sunday, and cannot afford to make that mistake again. Long spoke about FIU and the potential of overlooking an opponent.

“Every game has to be perceived as a fight from start to finish,” Long said “our approach going into Friday night’s game shouldn’t waver. We’re in no position to disrespect any team in conference based on standings.”

The Panthers are led in goals by Alyssa Robinson who has four this season. Rowland has taken the majority of the shots for FIU, 24 total, with 13 on goal. While Robinson is clearly the key point of attack, seven other Panthers have registered either a goal or an assist this season.

The upside for the Thundering Herd is the Panthers have experienced a huge drop off in the second half of games. FIU has been outscored 15-3 in the second half of games this season. Shots statistic echoes the same sentiment, as FIU has been outshot 118-53 after halftime, including overtime.

Sunday, the Thundering Herd will complete the road trip in Boca Raton, Florida. The opponent will be Florida Atlantic University. The Owls current record is 7-6-2 overall with 3-2-1 in conference, but have a game scheduled Friday before playing Marshall.

The Owls are led by Sammy Rowland in goals with five on the season. Rowland leads the team in shots with 38 and 17 on goal. While Rowland tallied the most shots, the rest of the team has 18 players who have had at least one shot on goal. Of that 18, eight have scored at least one goal this season.

While the Thundering Herd cannot afford to overlook Friday’s game, Sunday’s game will feature the pre-season all- Conference USA goal keeper Sydney Drinkwater. Drinkwater has played in 14 games this year, starting in 13, and has a goals allowed average of 0.78 per game.

The next women’s soccer home game is scheduled Oct. 20 against University of Texas at El Paso. The kickoff is scheduled at 7 p.m.

Joseph Ashley can be contacted at ashley38@ marshall.edu.