Coming off a sweep of Boise State and the University of Idaho, the Idaho State women’s soccer team dropped three consecutive matches last week.
On Aug. 30, the Bengals would travel to Lubbock, Texas to square off with 23rd ranked Texas Tech. The Red Raiders started the scoring early, tallying a goal in the 13th minute, prior to tacking on another right before half to give them a 2-0 cushion at the break.
Idaho State goalkeepers Sheridan Hapsic and Maria Dela Cruz shared time in the net and had plenty of opportunities to make saves. Hapsic allowed only two goals during her time in net, with Dela Cruz on the field for the other in the 3-0 Red Raiders victory.
The Bengal offensive attack ran into a strong Texas Tech defense that limited them to only one shot on goal during the match, by Amanda Ellsworth.
“They [Texas Tech] were really talented,” said senior midfielder Laura Benson. “We didn’t play our best, but you always learn a lot playing against top 25 schools.”
Their return home occured simultaneously with a thunderstorm, forcing the match with the Utah Valley Wolverines to be played inside of Holt Arena.
The event would mark the first soccer match ever played in the dome.
“We built goals out of poles, had lines taped on the field and cones,” said Benson. “It’s not grass and it is inside, so the atmosphere is a little different. We have practiced in there before though, so we had experience with it.”
In a repeat of the Texas Tech match, the Bengals found themselves down 2-0 at the half. Senior Allyson Stainbrook then cut the deficit to 2-1 with a penalty kick.
A header goal from Utah Valley’s Taylor Kirk, her second of the night, extended the lead to 3-1 in the 76th minute.
Stainbrook responded with another goal in the 85th minute on a free kick from 35 yards out.
That was as close as the Bengals would get though, with the Wolverines putting the finishing touches on the match with a Haley Curtis goal in the 89th minute to create the 4-2 score, which would hold true until the final horn.
The defeat at home is the first for ISU since a 1-0 double overtime loss on October 23, 2011 against Portland State.
A second consecutive home loss followed for ISU on Sept. 7 with a heartbreaking ending against Utah State in which the Aggies tallied the game winner on a penalty kick in the 88th minute.
The Bengals will now look to continue development in certain aspects of their game.
“Some of our strengths are that we are a hard working team and overall pretty good at holding each other accountable,” said Benson. “We are still developing, though.”
Benson mentioned winning more 50-50 balls out of the air as one area of emphasis, along with defense as another area that the team will continue working on.
The senior leader has faith that the unit will reach their goals with a strong team work ethic and all of the individual player strengths seen across the group.
Now the Bengals just have to hope for improvement in the weather situation for their upcoming matches.
“It definitely wasn’t a typical day for a soccer game,” said Benson about the Utah Valley match being forced inside due to inclement weather.
The losses drop the Bengals to 2-3 on the season as they prepare for a flight to Hawaii for games with the University of Hawaii and Florida Gulf Coast University this week.