Boca Raton, FL - The Florida Atlantic University women’s soccer team helped its Sun Belt Conference tournament aspirations with a key 2-1 home overtime victory over the University of Louisiana on a blustery Sunday afternoon at the FAU Soccer Stadium.
Junior midfielder Ellie Smith drilled a shot from 12-yards out in the 108th minute to give the Owls their second straight one-goal margin victory. In fact, six of the team’s seven conference matches have been decided by one goal.
Smith tallied her second goal of the season after freshman midfielder Gabriella Sosa sent a cross from the right corner.
“It was hectic in the (18-yard) box when the ball was coming. I composed myself in the situation and hit it towards the corner of the net,” said Smith of the match-winning goal. “We have had four overtime matches already this season. It was important to get a win today.”
The Owls controlled the overtime period, holding a 5-0 edge in shots and had the only corner kick opportunity. Overall, the team held a 21-16 shot advantage.
The team did this despite going into a stiff wind.
“We were moving the ball effectively and finding a good rhythm during the second half going into the wind,” said Brian Dooley, FAU’s head women’s soccer coach. “Ellie took control of the situation. She drilled her shot to the corner of the net.”
FAU broke a scoreless match in the 46th minute when freshman forward Natalia Hernandez beat the Ragin’ Cajun defender down the left side. The Wellington, Fla. native dribbled the ball toward the center of the pitch and finished with a shot inside the lower left corner of the net. The goal was her second for this season.
The lead was short lived as the visitors answered 58 seconds later when Elizabeth Manuel converted a rebound.
“Every match is important for the rest of the season,” said Smith. “We came away with two wins this weekend. This win helps with morale for the final three games of the season. We’re getting closer to achieving our team goal of making the conference tournament.”
On Senior Day, goalkeeper Ashley Lantes became the program’s all-time leader for career saves with six stops in the victory. She passed Molly Keating’s school record of 321 saves from 2000-03.
Freshman midfielder Claire Emslie led the offensive attack with six shots. Junior midfielder Marisa Russo recorded three shots. Sophomore midfielder Nina Mas, Hernandez and Smith each had three shots.
“Natalia was relentless in the overtime period,” noted Dooley. “She was determined to beat defenders, keep balls in play and gave tremendous effort. Gabby gave so much effort I don’t know how she had anything left to deliver a beautiful pass to set up the game winner.”
FAU improves to 5-9 on the season and 3-4 in SBC action. The team travels to the University of Arkansas-Little Rock to begin its final road swing on Thursday, October 18, at 8 p.m. Louisiana falls to 7-9-1 overall and 1-5-1 in league play.