The Southern Utah University soccer team hosted the Idaho Vandals Friday evening for just their second home match of the 2017 season. Needing to take advantage of what little home games they have, the Thunderbirds took it to the Vandals, beating the reigning Big Sky regular season champions 3-1.
“It was really nice to be home. I would have liked to seen us finish out the game a little better, but I thought we played really well,” head coach Fred Thompson said. “Our first two goals played out just like we have trained, which I love to see in the games. We are learning how to play a little longer and how to handle different scenarios with every game.”
MaKenzie Lawrence opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds in the 11th minute as she broke through two defenders and won the one-on-one battle with the Idaho goalkeeper. Lawrence scored again in the 30th minute to put the Thunderbirds up 2-0. Summer Soriano got things started on the play setting the ball in to Devri Hartle who dribbled the ball down into the box where she sent a cross to Lawrence who was waiting just in front of the goal. This was Lawrence’s first career two-goal match.
Kaitlyn Caldera made a whopping seven first-half saves and the Thunderbirds held a 2-0 lead at the half.
The Thunderbirds came out just as strong in the second half, taking a 3-0 lead on Ally Thimsen’s 19th career goal. Thimsen took it the distance by herself, beating three defenders and chipping it just over the goalkeeper’s head. Thimsen has now tied the Southern Utah all-time goal scoring record held by Stacey Brinkman.
Idaho’s Myah Merino scored her second goal of the season in the 87th minute making the final score 3-1 Thunderbirds.
Caldera finished the match with a career-high 11 saves, breaking her previous high of 10 which she set in the Thunderbirds’ 2-1 win over Nevada earlier in the season.
“Sunday we’ll be able to see what lessons we learned from Montana and from today’s game and hopefully we’ll be able to put together another really strong performance against Eastern Washington,” Thompson said.
The Thunderbirds will hit the road Sunday for a match with reigning Big Sky tournament champions Eastern Washington in Cheney. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. Mountain time.
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SUU Athletic Strategic Communications