Golden Eagles soar past Warhawks

Prajal Prasai
Alexandria Skidmore makes a play on the ball against a Southern Miss defender.

The Warhawks breathed in a sigh of relief Sunday night as they fell to Southern Miss having finally found the back of the net.

Head coach Keaton Wheelock continued her experimentation as she fielded no more than five freshmen players in her starting eleven in what is the sixth formation she’s played in five games (including exhibition).

The Warhawks began the first half of play with a relentless style of attack, regularly pushing the ball through the center of the field.

The Golden Eagles had a hard time adjusting in the early minutes, but eventually found their stride.

ULM freshman Bailey Botkin got the nod from Wheelock and started the game as a striker, a position she’s growing accustomed to having played as a defender in high school.

Warhawks’ keeper Brooke-Lynn Scroggins continued with what has become a norm for her, recording 11 saves out of 25 shots fired by the Golden Eagles. The final third of the field continued being the Warhawks’ greatest obstacle.

Throughout the game, the midfield struggled with position of the ball and connecting with the forwards.

Players like Botkin and sophomore Mia Walters were routinely forced to drop back from their positions in hopes of getting something going offensively.

The first half of play concluded with both sides even 0-0.

The second half of play started even for both teams.

Each team looked to capitalize on the other’s mistakes, but it would be the Golden Eagles to score first.

Southern Miss scored after a through ball split the ULM defense in half leaving goalkeeper Brooke-Lynn Scroggins out to dry.

The second and third goals almost came instantly.

The second goal was scored off a beautiful one-two pass that culminated in another one-on-one with Scroggins.

The third goal was scored via tap in on Scroggins’ far post. In a matter of minutes, the Warhawks strong composure had disappeared.

In came sophomore Erica Wiest to change the team’s attitude.

This was her first game back from injury and she made an impact.

Latching onto the ball by Botkin in the penalty area around the 82nd minute Wiest stood up the opposing keeper, shot right and brought ULM’s scoring drought to an end.

Although down by two, the Warhawks couldn’t help but celebrate.

The fans in attendance rose to their feet and applauded Wiest.

A comeback was a long shot away, but ULM’s first goal of the season brought in air of tranquility to the soccer complex. Change was on the horizon.

“Press the back line and keep working hard the goals will come,” Wiest remembers being told before she came on and broke the Warhawks goal drought.

Reenergized, the Warhawks went on a rampage, dominating the closing minutes of the game, sadly to no avail.

The game ended 1-3.

Coach Wheelock said, “We finally got a goal, and hopefully that’ll open some things up and make them relax a little bit more going forward.”

The Warhawks have another chance to defend home turf against Jacksonville State on Friday, Sept. 8, kickoff is slated for 4 p.m.