The Cougars closed out homecoming weekend with a 2-0 win over University of Central Arkansas. The shutout boosted the homecoming record to 12-0.
Head Coach Cale Wassermann said that, while he was well-aware of the record, he made sure not to mention the high stakes leading up to the game.
“We did not reference that with the team today because I’m a little superstitious, but we’re definitely happy to continue that tradition and get the win,” Wassermann said.
Wassermann said Central Arkansas came out strong during the first half, but neither team was able to get the back of the net. It factored into halftime discussions, Wassermann said.
“UCA is a really, really high-level experienced team, and we’re a little physically worn down. UCA was really sharp in the first half,” Wassermann said. “We basically talked at halftime [about] having a little more confidence on the ball, taking care of it a little better because, in the first half, when we turned the ball over, they punished us a little bit.”
The Cougars took the lead in the second half, resulting in the 2-0 shutout. A little over 50 minutes into play, senior midfielder Jorge Gonzalez scored the first goal, assisted by sophomore defender Corban McAvinew.
The final goal came approximately 15 minutes later, scored by sophomore midfielder Kelby Phillips and assisted by sophomore midfielder Steven Bibas. Phillips said he was pressured out wide, and, once he was able to cut inside, he made the shot. According to Phillips, this shot was unique from other goals he has scored.
“I guess the distance and the way I hit it and the way it moved [made it unique], because I haven’t really struck a ball like that, especially at the college level,” Phillips said. “It’s just a good feeling.”
Wassermann said the success of the game was largely due to the players who were substituted during the middle of play.
“I want to put credit to our depth,” Wassermann said. “We’ve had a couple of guys come off of the bench recently — Kashaun Smith, Vincent Jackson II, Andres Delascio. Some of those guys have come off the bench and really given us a boost. Our starters have