TSU soccer’s 2021 fall season debut came down to sudden death as ULM scored in the 96th minute to squeak out a 2-1 win in a hard-fought season opener on Thursday at the Houston Sports Park.
With nearly two weeks of practice under their belts and a bevy of newcomers present, head coach Lindsay Vera’s squad had to quickly come together.
Both teams felt each other out in the opening minutes of the first half but ULM would attack first with seven shots within the first 20 minutes but All-SWAC goalie Oriana Palacios was on top of her game with three saves. Newcomer Laura Chavez would record TSU’s first shot of 2021 in the 14th minute followed by Hayden McMillian’s shot attempt which sailed slightly high and landed on top of the goal. Four minutes later, Mia Ontiveros would score TSU’s first goal of 2021 as she nailed a shot from about 40 yards out which sailed over the ULM goalie for a 1-0 lead which stood until the second half.
The second half saw ULM change to a more aggressive offensive attack but the TSU defense stood up to the challenge early on. ULM would take advantage of a corner kick in the 67th minute as Ermelinda Pantaleao scored off a corner for the 1-1 tie. TSU would become the aggressor the remainder of the second half with a pair of shot attempts from Ashley Arnes and Carissa Reese while the defense continued to hold its own as Palacios made three critical saves in the goal.
Palacios would get several key blocks early in sudden death but ULM would claim the win as Mara Grutkamp found Theoni Zerva for a shot in front of the goal.
Palacios finished with nine saves while McMillian led TSU with two shots followed by a goal from Ontiveros.
TSU is back in action on Sunday as they’ll head to Corpus Christi, Texas to face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 1 p.m.