The University of Central Oklahoma soccer team jumped all over Northeastern State Sunday afternoon and came away with a 3-1 win in the first Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association game of the 2019 season.
The Bronchos, ranked 14th in the nation, are now 6-0-2 on the season. And the defending MIAA champs are off to a 1-0-0 start in conference play.
"We played well again today and it was really good to get conference play started with a win," UCO head soccer coach Mike Cook said. "We played well on defense and had a lot of chances to score. Overall, it was a good game."
UCO fired 22 shots on the day to NSU's 10. The Bronchos put six on goal, as did the Riverhawks.
Kelsie Eason and Asha Haile continued their stellar seasons for Central Oklahoma.
Eason assisted on a goal by Kelsey Gordon in the 21st minute that gave the Bronchos a 1-0 lead. She then scored her ninth goal of the season in the 24th minute, on an assist from Haile, to make it 2-0. Haile would score for herself in the 70th minute to make it 3-1, UCO.
The two are now once again tied for the team lead with nine goals each. Eason has a team-high six assists, while Haile has four. Eason took a team-high eight shots Sunday while Haile took the next most, four.
Haley Post, who assisted on Haile's goal with a brilliant, forward-flicking volley, also scored in the fourth minute of the game, but it was waived off for offside. Post hit both posts on the Northeastern State goal before the ball crossed the goal line. A brief celebration ended when the flag went up.
UCO's early pressure continued throughout the match.
Eason took her first shot in the 16th minute, and Haile took her first shot in the 19th minute. After Gordon buried her first goal of the season with ease from the right side of the box in the 21st minute, Katy Tullis also took a shot in the 22nd minute. Then Eason scored in the 24th.
Central took 13 shots in the first half, keeping NSU on its heels for the entire 45 minutes.
Kaitlyn Asher played all 90 minutes in goal for the Bronchos. She let a lackluster Riverhawk shot slip through her hands for NSU's lone goal in the 51st minute. But the junior keeper was solid again, making five saves on the day as she improved to 4-0-2 on the season.
Central Oklahoma will wrap up a five-match homestand next weekend. The Bronchos host Fort Hays State at 7 p.m. Friday before hosting Nebraska-Kearney at 1 p.m. next Sunday in MIAA play.