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Women's Soccer Upends Cajuns 2-1 in OT

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Women's Soccer Upends Cajuns 2-1 in OT

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That's precisely what happened to the Florida Atlantic University women's soccer team with last-minute heroics keeping its postseason hopes alive in a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over the University of Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday before a large crowd on "20 Sports – One Team" Night at FAU Soccer Stadium in Boca Raton.

Senior Anhnhi Tran scored a goal with three seconds remaining in regulation to send the match into overtime, 1-1. Then, freshman Jesse Shugg scored the game-winning goal three minutes into the extra session.

The victory could play a big role in the Owls securing one of the eight berths for next month's Sun Belt Conference championships. The team improves to 4-5 in league play and broke a logjam with Arkansas State University and Louisiana-Lafayette in the standings. Also, FAU now owns important tiebreaking victories over ASU and the Ragin' Cajuns.

"Tonight was an important first step in making sure we qualify for the conference tournament," said Brian Dooley, FAU's head women's soccer coach. "Having the tiebreaker advantage is big for us. We don't need help from other teams. That's always a positive this late in the season."

Florida Atlantic will travel to the University of Louisiana-Monroe on Sunday afternoon, October 24, before concluding the regular season with a home Senior Night Game against Florida International University on October 29.

The Ragin' Cajuns broke a scoreless tie in the 77th minute when Jordan Blevins blocked a long ball attempt from the Owls' goalkeeper Courtney Zwetsch nearly 30 yards away from the box. Blevins would then finish into the open net for her second goal of the season.

Then came the last-minute that might have saved FAU's season. With the clock running down to the final seconds, the team had a scoring opportunity on a right corner kick from sophomore Jamie Greany. Shugg flicked the ball from the middle of the 18-yard box to Tran, whose first goal of the season couldn't have come at a better time.

"Jesse went for the ball first but it came right to me," said Tran. "I took a touch to see how they were playing me. I knew that it was late in the match because they were counting down the time. I didn't see the shot go in because my teammates were hugging me. It felt like we had won the World Cup."

The Owls didn't waste much time in overtime scoring the golden goal in the 93rd minute. After a pass into the box from freshman Alexandra Major, Shugg would win the ball from two Louisiana defenders to set up a one-on-one situation with Ragin' Cajuns goalkeeper Amanda Moorefield. The Burlington, Ontario native finished the play with a goal into the upper right corner of the net. The goal was Shugg's seventh on the season and second game-winner.

"I was battling a couple of defenders and actually fell down on the play," recalled Shugg of the game-winning tally. "When I got up I saw that the ball was still at my feet. The goalie came out to cut down the angle, but I hit a strong shot to the near post. It felt great to convert in that situation."

Zwetsch picked up her fifth win of the season in goal - all at home - and recorded two saves in the contest.

"Courtney played a superb game tonight," said Dooley. "She was dominant with plays in the air. We were able to overcome a costly mistake and rallied to help her out." FAU outshot the Ragin' Cajuns by a 14-11 margin. Shugg led the offensive attack with four shots. Freshman Brittney Nash tallied three shots while junior Gabriela DeVries, Major and Tran added two shots for the Owls.

"I told the girls before overtime to relax and just come out and play our game," said Dooley. "We were in a similar situation at South Alabama. However, we weren't sharp and lost in overtime. It isn't a comeback unless you complete it. Tonight we were able to come back and get a quality win against an opponent that always gives us problems."

Source: www.fausports.com
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