Marshall Looks to Nab Key Conference Victories

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
HUNTINGTON, WV – After a four-game home stand, Marshall hits the road this weekend to take on SMU and Tulsa in Conference USA play.  The Herd is riding a three-game unbeaten streak and look to continue the trend in Dallas, Texas and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Since opening conference play three weeks ago, Marshall suffered a disappointing 1-0 road loss to UTEP followed by a close one goal loss to Colorado College, who currently rests in second place. The Herd hung with No. 6 Memphis one week later until the final 45 seconds of regulation, when a member of the Tiger squad dribbled a ball in the back of the net. MU couldn’t stand defeat any longer after three close matchups that it could have won. Therefore, The Herd tallied back-to-back ties against UAB and No. 24 UCF before grabbing a victory against Southern Miss.

The Herd has established a new presence in the net throughout the last four competitions, showcasing Lindsey Kerns as the premier defensive stopper. Kerns has allowed only two goals and tallied 33 saves, to go along with two shut outs. The sophomore keeper has a .943 save percentage and totals a .45 goals-against average.

Offensively, Angela DeSumma continues to push MU. DeSumma has totaled 11 points from four goals and three assists, but boasts 21 shots-on-goal and 56 total shots throughout the year. Freya Holdaway, Casey Walsh, and Alyssa Cathey each have fired two goals apiece.

With the uplifting perspective Marshall will take on a good SMU squad. Currently ranked fourth in the conference, the Mustangs hold an 8-5-1 (4-1-1 C-USA) record and are nearly flawless at home with a 6-1 home record. Southern Methodist is coming off of a productive road trip this past weekend, grabbing a 2-1 win over UAB and a 3-3 tie against No. 6 Memphis. The Mustangs are led by Kenzie Scovill, who has tallied nine points on the year with four goals and an assist, however, nine members of the Texas squad have scored a goal, and of those nine team members, six have scored multiple goals. SMU has beaten MU three out of four times in its previous matchups.

Following Friday’s game against SMU, The Herd will travel to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane. The Oklahoma team currently resides in seventh place in the Conference USA with a record of 8-5-2 (2-3-1 C-USA). Tulsa also plays well at home, maintaining a 5-2-1 record at the Hurricane Soccer Stadium. Throughout fifteen competitions Claire Nicholson leads Tulsa with 12 points, via five goals and two assists. Marshall hopes to even the series between the two foes, as Tulsa owns a 3-2 advantage over The Herd since 2005.

Head Coach Kevin Long notes, “We are going against a very good SMU squad. They get results and are well coached. Our plan is to continue to excel defensively, while generating relief for the defense with better offensive play. It should be an exceptional battle between the two of us, yet we need to take care of the chances we get and finish the high-percentage shots to be victorious.”

Long continued, “Our team is poised and ready. After two shut outs to talented teams, you build confidence and grow accordingly. The pressure is now on our attackers to help out the great defense that’s been established. Tulsa offers the same challenges to us as SMU. Each game we have had has been competitive and I expect this to be the same.

Marshall kicks off Friday night against SMU at 8 p.m. ET. The Herd then battle Tulsa Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

Comments powered by Disqus