By SUU ATHLETICS STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION
CEDAR CITY–Having won two of their last three games, the Southern Utah University soccer team hosted the Weber State Wildcats Sunday afternoon for the closing event of Southern Utah’s Homecoming Weekend. Down 1-0 early, the Thunderbirds were able to complete the comeback, defeating the Wildcats 2-1 in overtime.
SUU head coach Fred Thompson said he would have been thrilled with the team’s performance no matter the result, but was glad they were able to pull out a “gutsy” victory at home.
“The girls were fantastic,” he said. “As I’ve mentioned before, we’re always learning new stuff, and this was an opportunity to learn how to be home for an entire weekend, to play well on a Sunday, and they did awesome. Obviously, we still need to work on some emotional control, we never should have been in that situation down a player, but the great thing for me is that we went down a player and that refocused the team. They got going the way they should, they started defending harder and a little bit smarter.”
Weber State took an early lead in this one when Morgan Quarnberg scored her fourth goal of the season in the 20th minute of play to put the Wildcats up 1-0. The Thunderbirds were not able to answer back in the opening half despite outshooting WSU 6-4.
The second half started with a bang as Meghan DeHerrera was showed a red card in the 50th minute, putting the Thunderbirds down a player for the rest of the game. Southern Utah was able to keep up the attack despite the disadvantage and was finally able to break through in the 74th minute. Jessica French tied the game with her second goal of the season when she took a long corner kick from Payton Wells and redirected it past the Wildcat goalkeeper.
The game remained tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation and the Thunderbirds found themselves in their first overtime match of the year.
MaKenzie Lawrence scored the game-winner for SUU in the 98th minute. The play started at midfield as Kristy Johnson sent a ball into the box that found its way to Ally Thimsen who headed it down to Lawrence for the goal.
Moving forward, coach Thompson said he will go over the film, work with the strength staff and the trainers to figure out what will be the best ways to keep the success going as the year wears on.
“At this point of the year it has very little to do with fitness, it’s just about being fresh,” he said. “If we can keep them fresh physically and mentally, throwing a few exciting different types of exercises in during the week, I think that might keep them on the level we need.”
The Thunderbirds will look to extend their three-game home winning streak next weekend as they host Northern Colorado and North Dakota.