Texas Southern and Grambling State played a nail biter on Friday night as both teams battled to a 1-1 draw after double overtime at Campbell Road Sports Park on Friday.
“Tonight’s result felt good for the team,” TSU head soccer coach Lindsay Vera said. “Even though we went down a goal we stuck to the plan. We continued to connect and build from the back.”
The Tigers fought through a grueling match from kickoff as Grambling had two goal attempts within the first four minutes. Crisely Pavon delivered the Tigers’ first goal attempt in the 18th minute right before Grambling’s Lizbeth Aguero scored the first goal of the match in the 23rd minute. TSU’s Makayla Lewis attempted one final shot at the goal before the end of the first half.
The offensive side went into overdrive in the second half with six shot attempts in total. Laura Chavez delivered a corner kick in the 70th minute which set Ari Mendez up for the equalizing goal seconds later.
Alexis Espino also had a busy night on the defensive side with six saves in the first half.
“To get a goal off a set piece, that’s a breakthrough for us. It’s something we have talked about since day one. We must be more dangerous in those moments. And tonight, we got the job done off a set piece,” Vera said.
The remaining goal attempts were delivered by Lewis, Pavon, Sammie Garcia, Hayden McMillan, and Simone Sheridan, respectively. Highlighting the continued defensive efforts, Espino ended the second half with nine more saves causing the match to go into overtime.
The first overtime segment saw four goal attempts by Grambling, three of which were blocked by Espino.
The final overtime had the entire stadium on the edge of their seats as both teams tackled offensively for position of the ball. A foul by TSU in the penalty box during the 103rd minute resulted in a penalty kick for Grambling. However, Espino came up with the play of the night as she blocked the potential go-ahead goal.
McMillan delivered the final shot attempt for TSU as Espino had two more saves giving her a total of 21 saves over the match. The final whistle went off at the 110th minute resulting in the 1-1 final score.
“I’m proud of how patient we were throughout 110 minutes of play,” said Vera. “Little mistakes didn’t eat up our mentality as they have in the past. Next up is UAPB and we’ll recover and review film between now and Sunday.”
Sunday’s match against Arkansas-Pine Bluff will be back on campus at Durley Stadium with kickoff at 1 p.m.
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