By D. Ryan Monceaux
The Lady Cougar soccer team is in the midst of one of the great quandaries of athletics: growing pains. For the third straight time in the inaugural soccer season at UH, Chris Huston's team fell by the score of 1-0 Tuesday.
A crowd of 675 cheered on the Cougars, who were in the game the entire way. One break in Houston's favor could have put the Coogs on top, but it was not meant to be.
The Lady Longhorns came into Robertson Stadium with a 1-1 record but once again, a minor flaw in defense allowed a Cougar opponent the one opening they needed. Goalkeeper Michelle Denomme had seven saves and gave up only a single score, but that was enough for a Lady Horns victory.
The lone goal of the game came off of a Katie Baruth shot in the 48th minute of the game. The goal was Baruth's third of the season. The Cougar intensity that was exceptional in the first half came out flat right after halftime, resulting in the score.
"We played great and we gelled. The defense just didn't clear (the shot)," Denomme said. "The desire to win was there, but it ended like this and you can't really put your head down."
The Cougars had only six shots on goal and have been out-shot by their opponents 41-20 in the three opening losses. However, only three shots have gotten by Denomme, who has kept all games within reach. The team has still not scored a goal in any of the three previous games.
"It is so close," Huston said. "I was really proud of the girls. They really played their hearts out. We just had one breakdown, and it cost us. My main concern is we have to work on finishing so we can put some goals back on (opponents)."
Lisa Duffus had three breakaway scoring opportunities in the game but failed to convert. A walk-on who is a relay sprinter on the Cougar track team, Duffus is always the fastest player on the field but is rusty when it comes to putting shots away.
"It's going to come. She's new and we need to work on the front six and getting to know each other and moving off each other," Huston said of Duffus.
Saturday, the Cougars faced TCU in Fort Worth. TCU forward Jill Cook converted on a pass from Crystal Pratz in the box for the only score of the game.
Houston's best scoring opportunity came late in the match as Duffus got free on a breakaway but missed a chance to tie the game as her shot sailed over the crossbar.
After the two matches over the weekend, the Lady Cougars fell to 0-3 on the season and are 0-1 in conference.
The next match for the Lady Cougars is Friday night in Stillwater, Okla., as Houston faces Oklahoma State. Game time is set for 7 p.m.