soccer

Sophomore Telly Vunipola (9) takes the ball down field as the Ragin' Cajuns take on the Nicholls Colonels on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.

With a recent loss to Northwestern State on Sept. 15, the Ragin’ Cajuns Soccer team’s winning streak has come to an end.

Prior to the loss, Louisiana was on a four-game winning streak after their win against Nicholls on Sept. 11. If Louisiana won this game, they would have broken the program's winning streak record with five.

Northwestern State and the Ragin’ Cajuns have a dense history, as they’ve been competing against each other since 2000.

Since then Louisiana has won nine games, while Northwestern State has won eight. The game on Sept. 15 was the first loss against Northwestern State since 2010 and the first away game since 2012.

Northwestern State came into the game with a 2-5 record, while Louisiana was 4-3-0. Overtime is rare in soccer, because ties are acceptable, but this game saw not one, but two overtimes.

The first half started off with neither team scoring, until the last 11 minutes of play. At 34:36, Rainey Niles, a sophomore midfielder scored the Ragin’ Cajuns first and only goal.

The shot sailed toward the back corner of the net and was also her first goal of the season. Her goal was assisted by Telly Vunipola, another sophomore midfielder.

At halftime, the Ragin’ Cajuns were in the lead 1-0. The second half came around and Northwestern State’s Olivia Draguicevich scored at the 57-minute mark.

Draguicevich also scored their second goal in the final minutes of the second overtime that ultimately won Northwestern State the game.

Northwestern State outshot the Ragin’ Cajuns 11-9 and, for the first time this season, the Ragin’ Cajuns went without a corner kick.

Defensively, Louisiana had five saves by senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Lee, compared to Northwestern State’s four. As far as penalties go, both teams had a fair share. Northwestern State had 12, while Louisiana had seven.

Louisiana lost this game, but they are not shy of winning. After wins earlier in the season, Head Coach Lance Key shared his thoughts, “I think preparation really had a lot to do with game management.”

“Understanding the situation, where we were, and managing making good decisions, whether it was with the ball without the ball,” Key said.

Key believes in Louisiana’s offense. “We have to continue to stay on the front edge of the game and make sure that we continue to attack, and also when we’re attacking take those chances better,” Key said.

He also believes in their defense from goalkeeper Lee.

“I think on the defensive side of things, we’re going to have to rely heavily on the leadership of our goalkeeper Mackenzie Lee, who’s a senior,” Key said.

The Ragin’ Cajuns record is now 4-3-1. The game against Northwestern State was the last non-Sun Belt Conference game. Up next, Louisiana will play Arkansas State on Friday, Sept. 27, followed by Little Rock on Sunday, Sept. 29. Both games are away and part of SBC play.

Based on what Coach Key said, as long as Louisiana continuously attacks on offense and has a solid defense, they can secure a win.

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