The University of Central Oklahoma soccer team used a dominant second half to rout Southern Nazarene 6-2 Monday night. The ninth-ranked Bronchos are now 1-0-1 on the season.
"We got to play a lot of our younger players tonight and some of those who haven't gotten as many minutes before, so that's always good, to get those players that experience," UCO head soccer coach Mike Cook said. "And I like the way the team responded tonight. We certainly didn't want to be down at halftime, but we played much better in the second half and got the job done."
Despite out-shooting Southern Nazarene 13-3 in the first half, UCO trailed 2-1 at halftime. The Bronchos got an early goal from Katie Gasaway in the fourth minute to grab a 1-0 lead. Katy Tullis assisted on the play. But Central then let SNU tie the match in the 30th minute and take a 2-1 lead in the 39th minute.
The Bronchos responded in a big way, nearly doubling its shot total in the second half and tightening up the defense.
Kelsie Eason, who sat out the first half, scored an unassisted goal in the 66th minute to tie the game. Haley Post then put the Bronchos in front with a laser boot from the left side of the box after Eason ditched it off to Asha Haile, who found a charging Post for the shot.
Eason added a second goal in the 76th minute off a pass from Eden Jones to make it 4-2, UCO. Then Haile, who had a hat trick in the season opener last week, scored in the 79th off a pass from Post to make it 5-2.
Jones, one of seven freshmen to play in the game Monday, added the game's final score in the 85th minute. Haile took a shot that hit the post and Jones followed with a rebound shot from right in front of the box for her first career score.
In the second half, Central outshot SNU 25-4, for a total on the game of 38-5. UCO put 13 shots on goal and had five assists on its six scores. The Bronchos also controlled possession with complete jurisdiction, handling the ball in their attacking half for almost 80 percent of the match.
Bailey Ledbetter, also a freshman, got her first start in goal and played the full 90 minutes. Ledbetter made two saves and allowed two goals.
Central Oklahoma improves to 1-0-1 on the season with the win. The Bronchos will continue a home stand to open the 2019 campaign, hosting Oklahoma Christian in another non-conference matchup Friday at 7 p.m.