BEAUMONT, Texas — Playing through rain, heat, and a Lions’ defense that held them scoreless for 79 minutes, Lamar University’s women’s soccer team finally broke through with three goals to rally back for a 3-1 win over Texas A&M-Commerce. The win not only keeps LU unbeaten through seven games at 6-0-1 and 3-0 in the Southland Conference, but it also marks their ninth straight home victory.
Isela Ramirez, Carriel Ellis, and Christine Kitaru each found the back of the net to score for the Cardinals in a span of six minutes for the win. Ellis and Kitaru assisted on each other’s goals while Kolbi Coleman also assisted on the goal to Kitaru. Nicole Panis made five saves in goal while facing 10 shots for AMC. The Cardinals as a whole put together 18 shots.
The Cardinals’ win wasn’t easy, especially as AMC held them in check as head coach Nathan Kogut explained. “I give all credit to Commerce,” said Coach Kogut. “They came in today with a good game plan and they made it really difficult for us to play. It took a very long time to break them down to get anything dangerous.”
Ten seconds into the first half, a lightning delay was called and play was halted for nearly an hour. When it resumed, the first half was a tale of two stories as the Cardinals outshot the Lions nine to five, but were unable to breakthrough. Meanwhile, the Lions were able to get the ball barely over the goal line in the 21st minute to make it a 1-0 lead, which held into halftime.
The second half was more the same as LU kept creating shot opportunities, but couldn’t put the ball past the net. Abby Gemza was able to spark an offensive firepower with six shots while Kitaru and Ellis also had early chances to score. Then, with ten minutes to play, the Cardinals finally broke through as Ramirez equalized the match with a ball off the deflection. That set in motion a momentum surge as in the 83rd minute, Coleman delivered a long ball to Kitaru, who then connected with Ellis to complete the two-on-one break and give LU the lead. Ellis then returned the favor two minutes later as she set up Kitaru for the clinching goal.
“We kind of knew that if we got one, then we would get two and then we get a couple more,” said Coach Kogut. “When we got it, I figured we would bunker in, but it was nice to put in a couple away. We’re a team that when we get some chances, we do a pretty good job finishing. We weren’t getting anything clear, but you can just feel it coming. When we broke that seal, the floodgates opened.