After postponing Thursday’s match due to rain, the Bulldogs found themselves in a tight defensive game against West Alabama on Friday night. While Union played well on both sides of the ball, West Alabama was able to knock two goals in off of set pieces. Robel Dent, senior sociology major, was able to score on a penalty kick to avoid a shutout.
When the game started off everyone in attendance knew that they were in for tight game. Neither team was able to keep control of the ball for long and the defenses refused to allow for clean looks at the goal. This continued through most of the first half until the West Alabama Tigers were given a free kick that resulted in a header by Keegan McQueen into the back of the net.
However, this was a short lived victory. Only a minute later, Dent drew a penalty inside the box, leading to a PK. He scored as the ball flew right over a fully extended keeper.
“I just had to step up and be confident,” said Dent about his goal off the PK. “I was feeling good so I was able to just go up and put it in for the team.”
After the goal tied the game up again, the defensive battle continued in this back and forth match. Very few openings were made for either offense but when they appeared, they were thrilling plays because any goal had the potential to decide the game. As the defenses began to play recklessly, a quartet of yellow cards were awarded. Two to either team. The first half ended with an altercation between two players after the ball had gone out of bounds.
West Alabama started the second half aggressively by making long passes over the heads of Union defenders. In spite of the Tigers offensive blitzkrieg, the Bulldogs did not budge. There were multiple opportunities in second half for either team but no one was able to take advantage of the looks they were given. Union Keeper Casper Nyberg, sophomore sports management major, made two crucial saves.
Then, in the closing minutes of the game, West Alabama’s Jean-Baptiste Meyniel, junior, was able to hit a header off of another set piece into the back of the net. After that, there simply was not enough time for Union to tie it back up.
“I think we defended really, really well,” said Steven Cox, Union head coach. “It’s disappointing, obviously, to give up two goals on set pieces.”