SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (8/18/17) – Dana O'Boye converted two penalty kicks in the final 10 minutes of the match to lead to the Arkansas State women's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Missouri State in its regular season opener Friday night Allison South Stadium.
Trailing 1-0 with less than 10 minutes to go in the match, freshman forward Sarah Sodoma was taken down inside the 18-yard box on the left side as she attempted to setup for a potential shot to tie the match. The takedown resulted in a penalty kick that was taken by O'Boye, who went to low right side as the goalkeeper dove to the other side for the uncontested goal.
“We were missing that final touch all game and Sarah was able to create danger and I was really surprised on the first situation because the girl just came out of nowhere and took her down,” A-State head coach Brian Dooley said. “I actually felt bad for Sarah because she was going to have a really good look if she would not have gotten taken down.”
Five minutes later Sodoma was on the attack on the left side once again and was taken down in the same area as she tried to avoid a defender to take a potential go-ahead shot. The Red Wolves turned to O'Boye once again for the penalty kick and the Plainfield, Ill., native went to the right side, but aimed for the upper corner as the shot sailed just out of the reach of the goalkeeper for a 2-1 advantage with 5:15 to go.
“We've been practicing our penalty kicks throughout preseason and it was never in doubt who would take the first one,” Dooley said. “The difficult decision came on the second one because most of the time a player will go to the same side and Dana did, but she made the right decision to go high this time and it was just a great strike.”
From that point the Red Wolves went into a defensive shape and prevented the Bears from taking a quality chance on goal until the final minute when Mary Disidore had a free kick from just outside the box sail high over the net.
Missouri State controlled the early part of the match and took several shots in the first 10 minutes before both teams settled into a rhythm. Kelsey Ponder made three saves in the first half for A-State, but got caught out of position in the 55th minute of the second half when Brooke Prondzinski chipped a rebound over Ponder's head for the first goal of the night. Ponder rebounded, however, and continued to stay aggressive as the Bears pushed for another goal.
Ponder finished the evening with four saves, while the Red Wolves forced Missouri State into five saves. Maggie Ertl, Riley Ebenroth, Sodoma, Bailey Reed and Lindsey Brochu each had scoring chances that landed on target.
For the match, Missouri State outshot A-State 17-14 but the Red Wolves had a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal.
“We started eight freshmen and sophomores and our first substitution was a freshman so it says a lot about the confidence we have in these kids,” Dooley said. “They continued to fight throughout the night and they got better when went down a goal, but the real spirit of this team came from the play of the upperclassmen. They held things together and allowed the younger players to find their way. It was an all-around team victory.”
The Red Wolves return to the field Thursday, Aug. 24 for a road contest at Lipscomb. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.