After tying the school record for best start in UM history on Wednesday, the women’s soccer team failed to win their sixth game with a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to Florida Atlantic University on Friday night.
The Hurricanes, 5-1, shut out Florida International University on Wednesday night at home in a game that left fans in awe over the explosive tempo and fancy footwork on the offensive side.
Paulelette Ricks-Chambers started the scoring early with a header that found the back of the net in the 3rd minute. Ricks-Chambers, who was named SoccerFla.com Player of the Week last week, scored two goals in the team’s previous win against UNC Greensboro. She attributed her recent scoring tear to hard work.
“I’m just coming to play and make a difference, especially from the get go,” Ricks-Chambers said. “The past two games I’ve started, and I’m just trying to play hard.”
Head Coach Tricia Taliaferro said that this has simply been the result of a conscious effort to get her in the position to score.
“We really focused in on her being mobile off the ball and being an option, and I think the difference is that we’re finding her more,” Taliaferro said.
While the rest of the first half was played out without a goal, the entertainment came from a number of dazzling offensive moves that drew “ooh”‘s and “ahh”‘s from the home crowd.
The second and final goal was scored in the 65th minute by Rebecca Tweneboah, securing another Hurricane victory.
The win raised the team to 5-0, which tied the UM record for the best start to a season, originally set in 2001. Additionally, the last time the soccer team went to the NCAA tournament was in 2001.
The team had little time to dwell on the win since they were already focusing in on their next game just two days later at FAU.
Friday’s game, however, delivered disappointing results for the Hurricanes, who were handed their first loss of the season.
After playing a majority of the game scoreless, the ‘Canes benefited from an own goal by the Owls in the 82nd minute to take a one goal lead. The response came quickly, as FAU forward Alicia Tirelli scored the tying goal in the 88th minute, forcing the game into overtime.
Though the first overtime went without a goal, FAU received a penalty kick in the 102nd minute after a foul was called on the Hurricanes in the goal box.
Susanna Lehtinen scored the penalty shot for the Owls, ending the game and halting the ‘Canes streak at five wins.
Although their first loss negates their goal of beating all Florida teams this season, the Hurricanes remain confident in preparation for their upcoming game on Sept. 15 against the University of South Florida.
“I think it’s a great start, but we have a lot more to accomplish,” Ricks-Chambers said. “The pace is going to be a lot different [against ACC teams]. It doesn’t stop there, we have to keep playing. We still have a lot of goals that we want to reach.”
Joel Brown may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.