The Alcorn State Lady Braves took on the Tigers from East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) on September 7th at Spinks-Casem Stadium on the campus of Alcorn State University. Alcorn entered their second game of the season at 0-1 and eager to get their first win of the year.
The Braves started off the game very aggressively on the defensive side on the ball. Strong tackles from starters Alexandra Salvador and Jaydah Myers helped the Lady Braves steal possessions early on. However, that aggression quickly backfired when the Braves over pursued on a loose ball which lead to the Tigers breaking the tie in only the 10th minute of play. Destruction struck again one minute later when Alcorn surrendered another goal. Freshman midfielder Nahvia Rodriguez played valuable minutes for the Braves. She was able to intercept 3 kicks as she added a host of good tackles. In addition, Rodriguez dazzled the crowd on numerous occasions with her ability to launch the soccer ball to her teammates during throw-ins. During the 15th minute of play, Salvador made an incredible diving tackle, then added a good outlet pass to teammate Rita Okoro which lead to a great shot. Okoro was unable to beat the Tigers’ goal-keeper but the home crowd roared with excitement to see such a competitive play from their Lady Braves. Alcorn’s defense was tested throughout the first half but they were able to hold East Texas Baptist to only two first half goals. As the game entered halftime, the score remained 2-0.
As the second half began, it was clear that the Tigers wanted to push their lead further. ETBU began to really pressure the ball and make the Braves work hard to win possessions. The defense was tested again and again and Senior team captain Priscilla Guardado anchored the defense. Guardado was named Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Defensive Player of the Week last week and her strong defense continued to shine through to this match with a dozen tackles. East Texas Baptist was able to force 3 corner kicks in which Alcorn defended perfectly. However, on the 4th corner kick the Tigers were able to extend the lead to 3-0. As the second half scrambled on, the Braves continued to fight. Unsuccessful shots were taken by Vanessa Monge, Yaira Guardado and Viktoriya Mihaylova. Nevertheless, during extra time in the second half, Okoro was fouled in the penalty area and received a free kick. The crowed stood in anticipation as Okoro attempted the free kick. Okoro nailed the free kick into the back of the net giving the Braves their first goal of the season. Despite the 4-1 loss the Braves are making progress towards their season goals.