The University of Sioux Falls women's soccer team (0-2, 0-0 NSIC) came back from an early 2-0 deficit to tie the game but fell short in a 3-2 home loss to Nebraska-Kearney (1-1) Sunday afternoon at USF Field.
The Cougars' nemesis was the corner kick, as the Lopers scored two goals, including the game-winner, on two set pieces from the corner spot.
"We had our chances and we knew coming into this game that UNK was going to be physical and they were going to run at us, and they did exactly what they needed to do and we couldn't stop it," said USF head coach Mekonnen Afa. "We had some opportunities that we missed and ended up with the loss."
USF sophomore Desiree Parmenter notched her first goal of the season while teammate Mikenna Greathouse scored her first career goal for the Cougars.
The Lopers took a 1-0 lead in the 9th minute on their first corner kick chance of the game, as Tara Knowlton sent the ball into the box and Montanna Hosterman was there waiting to head it home into the left side of the net.
Four minutes later, Hosterman played a ball over the USF defense and to the foot of Krstyn Otter, who broke free and won the one-on-one battle with Cougar net-minder Corrin Cook to put the visitors in front 2-0.
The Cougars got on the board at the 12:53 mark when a shot by Maria Gonzalez was blocked by Loper senior keeper Marissa Niday and Parmenter picked up the loose ball and stuffed it past Niday to cut the deficit to 2-1.
USF tied it up in the 22nd minute when Greathouse tallied her first career goal. Teammate Katie O'Neill took control of the ball and charged toward the cage and dished it to a streaking Greathouse, who deflected the ball into the right side of the net.
As the minutes dwindled in the first half, it appeared the match would be tied going into the break but UNK's Delanie Phillips headed in a corner kick by Knowlton for what would stand as the game-winner with 39 seconds left on the clock.
Gonzalez had USF's best scoring chance after halftime — a 19-yard shot that went about two feet wide right with seven minutes left in the half.
"We pushed a little bit too late," Afa said. "We waited until the end of the game and ran out of time."
For the contest, UNK outshot USF 12-6 and registered seven penalty corners to USF's one. Cougar keeper Corrin Cook tallied five saves in the game; UNK did not have a single save.
"Things will turn around, but it's frustrating to be 0-2 to start off the season and we have to prepare differently for Southwest Minnesota State."
The Cougars begin NSIC play on Friday, Sept. 7 when they travel to Marshall (Minn.) to face Southwest Minnesota State.
Courtesy: USF Athletics