by: Harrison Hudson
On Saturday evening, the Little Rock (LR) women’s soccer team blanked Sam Houston State (SHSU) 5-0 at the Coleman Athletic and Recreation Complex.
An acrobatic header goal from senior Fali Garuba in the match’s 20th minute provided a fitting accent to Senior Night ceremonies, which saw Garuba, Lisa Ryan and Quin Wilkes recognized prior to the match.
“She was the right person for the right moment,” head coach Adrian Blewitt said, complimenting Garuba’s athleticism and poise while playing in front of the goal. Garuba’s score pushed the Trojan lead to 2-0, as fellow senior Ryan scored first in only the third minute of play. The goals were the first of the season for both seniors.
LR (3-2) controlled the ball for much of the first half, logging nine shots on goal, compared to the Bearkats’ three. A subsequent goal by Jaclyn Purvine (32’) made the halftime tally 3-0 in favor of the Trojans.
After SHSU goalkeeper Christina Hendershot made her seventh of eight saves on the evening, the Trojans’ Doro Greulich kicked in the rebound (66’) from Arola Aparicio Gili and Morgan Smocovich to extend the lead to 4-0. Talia Graves scored unassisted in the 78th minute to round out the scoring.
Trojan goalkeeper Megan Swanson earned her third win of the season, logging 69 minutes and five saves.
Blewitt said he was impressed by Little Rock’s defensive play, saying that aggressiveness “was something we had talked about as a group that we needed to better.”
“I don’t think we’ve been as physical or as feisty as we need to be, certainly in the midfield area,” Blewitt added. “But I thought we put some good tackles in and we really showed that we wanted this tonight.”
In the 68th minute of the match, yellow cards were issued to Purvine and SHSU’s Katy Johnson after a defensive tangle. The Trojans were whistled for 12 fouls during the match, while the Bearkats committed ten.
Little Rock will next go on the road to play Murray State on Sept. 8 and Austin Peay State on Sept. 10, before returning home to host UAPB on Tuesday, Sept. 12.