Leathernecks’ strong first half does in Lady Lions

The Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Western Illinois women’s soccer teams were each looking for their first goal of the season.

While UAPB was unable to find the back of the net after its third match of the year, Western Illinois was able to put a goal on the board early and just kept repeating its action throughout the first half. Behind seven goals in the first half, the Leathernecks beat the Lady Lions 8-0 on Friday at Pumphrey Field.

“We always start off a little slow and sometimes it costs us,” UAPB coach Rohan Naraine said. “We can’t beat ourselves and give goals away.”

After losing to Northern Iowa 1-0 on Sunday, Western Illinois (1-1) got its first goal of the year at the 14-minute mark when Miranda Graham found the back of the net. Just 16 seconds later, Chrissy Campbell made it 2-0.

Then at the 18-minute mark of the match, Western Illinois proceeded to score three more goals in the next 6 minutes. The Leathernecks went up 6-0 with 5:40 left in the first half and added their seventh goal with 20 seconds before halftime.

“This was good for us because we squandered a lot of scoring opportunities our first match,” Western Illinois coach Ted Flogaites said.

Naraine just told the Lady Lions (0-3) to get back to the basics at halftime.

“I told them at halftime, you beat yourself and now go out and do the simple things,” he said. “You can’t ask anything more out of your team.”

The second half was much better defensively for the Lady Lions as they gave up just one goal, which came with 2:54 left in the match.

Naraine said he told his team to tighten up their defensive play in the second half.

“We had to mark them up tighter,” he said. “We were giving them too much space to turn and go to the goal. Second half, they fixed that.”

Flogaites said the reason Western Illinois was unable to put more points on the board in the second half was because UAPB was not trying too hard on offense.

“I think it’s difficult when there are 11 players behind the ball and the opposing team is trying to attack much,” he said. “They made us earn it a lot more in the second half, but at the same time, we were never really threatened on the other side.”

The Lady Lions actually seemed to play more on their own offensive end in the second half than in the first, though. UAPB was pressing hard in the last 10 minutes in the game to get a goal on the scoreboard, but were unable to get its first goal of the year.

“It will come,” Naraine said. “We are still playing some different positions. I think we are improving every game and we will see a different team on Wednesday.”

Western Illinois had 17 shots on goal to just one for UAPB. Kristy Martinez made three saves in the first half for the Lady Lions and Alyssa Cobb had six saves in the second half.

UAPB plays at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at home against Louisiana-Monroe.