Braves soccer drops season opener

Published 2:08 pm Friday, August 19, 2022

VICKSBURG, Miss. – Alcorn State Soccer was unable to find the back of the net Thursday evening, as the Braves suffered a 7-0 setback to visiting Southern Utah in the season opener for both teams at Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Redshirt senior goalkeeper Mikayla Shaughnessy stopped eight shots on the night in her first start of the season between the sticks for Alcorn State (0-1), as the Braves were unable to get a foothold in the game early-on with much of the action taking place in the Purple and Gold half of the pitch. In fact, Southern Utah maintained 56 percent possession on the night, including 31 percent inside the final third.

Southern Utah (1-0) opened the scoring early-on after a Thunderbirds player was brought down just inside the penalty area, allowing midfielder Hailey Hamataka to open her account for the 2022 season, as she calmly slotted the ball home from the spot into the bottom-left corner.

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After that Thunderbirds goal, Alcorn appeared to grow into the game with the midfield players beginning to control possession more while playing out from the back in Head Coach Kevin Larry‘s 4-2-3-1 formation employed on the night.

However, Southern Utah’s Ashley Rivera was able to bag her first goal of the campaign at the 30-minute mark to extend the visitors’ lead, 2-0.

Sammie Sofonia’s effort from outside the box placed into the top-right corner extended the Thunderbirds lead at 3-0 just before the break.

Addison Larsen collected a goal at 66′ following a saved effort by Shaughnessy on Rivera, putting the visitors up 4-0 at that point.

Sofonia would complete her hat-trick with a pair of goals in quick succession at 79′ and 82′, respectively, capping off the final 7-0 score line for her squad.

Megan Short collected the win in goal for Southern Utah, as she produced five saves in the contest.

For the Braves, freshman forward Samara Nunn registered the first shot on target for her career, as well as Audrey Williams forcing a save from Short in goal. Defender Briana Johnson had two shots in the game for the Braves, including one on target. And it was Zea Anderson and Yaisa Reyes also producing saves from Southern Utah’s Short between the sticks.

Alcorn State is back in action Sunday, Aug. 21, when the Purple and Gold host Grambling State to Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi in a nonconference affair between the two Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) foes. Kick-off for the match is scheduled for 11 a.m.