Tech soccer opens season in dramatic fashion

Tech celebrates Carmen Suarez’s game winning penalty kick in the 75th minute (photo credit – Emerald McIntyre)

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications


After a day’s delay due to weather, the Louisiana Tech soccer team kicked off the 2022 season Friday morning at home with a 2-1 win over Murray State.

The Techsters then dropped a 4-1 decision to Northwestern State on Sunday.

Tech will host Abilene Christian Friday at 7 p.m. 

Tech 2, Murray State 1

“Our players did a great job mentally preparing for this game especially with the change in game time,” said Tech head coach Steve Voltz. “They were excited. We want to be at home, and we thank everyone for coming out to support us. We want to encourage everyone to come back out this week.”

LA Tech (1-0-0) opened the season’s scoring in the 35th minute off a header from junior defender Kalli Matlock. The shot was set up by Lena Radler’s corner cross which came off a beautiful individual move to shake her defender.

Despite a couple of threatening chances from Murray State (0-1-0), Tech’s defense held on to the 1-0 lead after 45 minutes of action.

“We want to focus on our develop, our style of play, our cohesion,” said Voltz. “We rotated a lot of players. The theme for us is, we succeed as one, we trust each other. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way but today we got it done.”

With Murray State pressing the tempo early in the second half, the Racers found the back of the net in the 63rd minute to knot the match at one goal apiece.

Murray State’s Hailey Cole finished off a touch pass from Sydney Etter from the top of the box sending the ball to the top left corner of the net.

After twelve minutes of back-and-forth action and Tech threatening deep in Murray State territory, the Racers were called for a yellow card in the penalty box to set up a penalty kick opportunity for the Techsters.

Sophomore defender Carmen Suarez confidently stepped up to take the kick beating the Racer’s keeper with a shot in the top right corner to regain the lead for Tech (2-1).

Murray State had one final shot to tie the game in the final 90 seconds, but a diving save by goalkeeper Sydnee Korchak sealed the win for the Techsters.

Northwestern State 4, Tech 1

Louisiana Tech soccer fell to Northwestern State 4-1 in a non-conference matchup at The Mack Sunday afternoon. 

“It can be really tough to see a teammate go down with an injury and then have to find the energy and attention to bounce back from that,” said Voltz, referring to the loss of sophomore Lena Radler to a knee injury in the second minute of the contest. “I feel like it took us a while to overcome that, especially with it happening so early in the match, but we showed during a stretch in the first half what we are capable of.

“We can play a great brand of soccer. What we have to understand is that it is really hard to win college soccer games and just because we win on one night doesn’t guarantee anything the next. It’s a great lesson to learn early and we look forward to having another opportunity at home this Friday against Abilene Christian.” 

LA Tech (1-1-0) found themselves in an early hole as Northwestern State (1-0-0) got on the board in the 8th minute and added another in the 20th minute. 

After a hydration break, a downpour, and some substitutions, LA Tech found the back of the net as freshman Flavie Dube scored her first career goal off a double assist from fellow Canadian freshman Riley Bonadie and junior defender Kalli Matlock in the 32nd minute.

The goal cut the Demons’ lead to 2-1 which remained heading into halftime.

Northwestern added two more goals in the 40th and 54th minutes to extend the lead to 4-1. 

Northwestern outpaced Tech nine to four in shots on goal and had a six to one advantage in corners.

LA Tech’s goalies tallied five total saves in the match, two from Libe Banuelos and three from Senior Christina Hjelvik, who replaced Banuelos after the 18th minute.

NOTABLES (Murray State win)

  • LA Tech is now 6-0-0 all-time in season home openers.
  • Tech ties the all-time series with Murray State 2-2-0 and is their first win over the Racers since 2010.
  • Kalli Matlock scored her third career goal.
  • Lena Radler was credited with her first career assist.
  • Carmen Suarez’s goal was the second of her career, and the first PK of her career.
  • Tech faced four shots on goal, Sydnee Korchak was credited with two saves, while the other save was a team save by Radler.
  • Tech has scored the first goal of the season in three of the last four years.
  • Sophie Fijneman played in the 50th match of her career and is the team’s active leader in games played.

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