By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
A month into the season, women’s soccer has yet to close the deal. Hard work is supposed to be rewarded.
But Friday, Oral Roberts became the latest UNO opponent to get a few extra bounces and dropped the Mavs 2-0. UNO is now 0-10 on the season and head into a rugged first year through a full Summit League schedule.
“I feel like we really can’t catch a break right now and I’m not sure why,” senior forward Danielle Archuleta said. “We have to take every game as if it’s a new one and we have to leave the old ones behind. We’re storing up that bad luck and it’s gonna turn into a really good thing and we’re gonna end the season strong. You’re gonna see some wins.”
UNO used a strong wind gusting up to 30 mph to control the play in the first half. Freshman Layla Ashouri almost gave the Mavs their first lead of 2012, but UNO’s season of bad bounces continued.
Ashouri fired from just inside the front left corner of the box, but the ball took most of the right post and rebounded safely away. Later in the half, junior Sarah Nordstrom gained possession inside the ORU box and had her own look at the goal.
But Nordstrom’s shot to the right post was gathered by Golden Eagle goalkeeper Helen Erb just before crossing the goal line. With the wind in their face the second half, the Mavs maintained constant pressure and had more chances.
But UNO was not rewarded. The first bounce went to Oral Roberts.
“It’s been kind of a common occurrence that we’re tied at halftime and playing well, and it’s not like we didn’t play well in the second half, we didn’t get a break,” head coach Dan Klosterman said. “We give up a ball, just an easy play and they win it come back and score a goal, it’s just not been good.”
In the opening moments of the second half, ORU’s Megan Giles intercepted a pass meant for UNO’s Morgan Westenburg and quickly turned the play around. Giles sent a through ball forward that got past Mav defender Jordyn Braun.
Mary-Kate Halsmer controlled the ball 10 yards from the UNO box and came in on keeper Meaghan Clark all alone. Clark came out to cut down the angle on net, giving Halsmer just a look to the right corner.
The Oral Roberts forward sent a low shot that Clark got a piece of. But Halsmer had put enough on it, and the momentum of the ball carried it to the left post through to the back of the net.
“Obviously we’re always gonna mess up,” Archuleta said. “It doesn’t have to be necessarily perfection, but when we have the opportunities to put goals in the net we need to finish those, we need to utilize off of other teams mistakes because they make them too.”
It may have been another case of ‘here we go again’ but UNO seemed to shrug the goal off pretty easily. In the minutes that followed, the Mavs stayed aggressive and kept the play on Oral Roberts’ side of the field.
Ashouri had another chance in the box, but Erb again denied a ground shot from getting past her. Junior Mel McCormick twice got the ball on the far left of the ORU box but couldn’t create any offense.
Monica Bosiljevac put a corner kick into a crowd in front of the Golden Eagle net, but the ball found the foot of an ORU player and was sent out of danger.
“We always come out like we can win that day,” junior defender Kerry Pivovar said. “We always say we’re gonna win today, we never give up playing even when we get down and it’s the second half. We never stop playing and working hard. I think that shows a lot about our team.”
UNO never stopped working but couldn’t find the equalizer. In the 78th minute the Golden Eagles got another bounce and put the game out of reach.
ORU’s Ashley Martin was taken down in the box and converted her chance on the Maverick net. Martin sent her penalty kick to the left and keeper Clark was up to the task, stretching out on the grass to make the save.
But the ball came back to Martin, who sent it over a sprawled out Clark into the far corner for the 2-0 lead. With Oral Roberts retreating back to maintain a two-goal lead the rest of the way, UNO had little luck attacking on that offensive half.
“We still played hard,” Klosterman said. “They were down two, they kept playing hard, kept trying to score a goal. They’ve done that every game. They’ve played hard [and] try to bounce back every single time. We can’t fault that, can’t say anything bad to them about that. It’s just that…we don’t get any breaks.”