The No. 1-ranked Hutchinson Community College women’s soccer team received one of its biggest challenges of the season on Wednesday as Cowley College was all square with the Lady Dragons through the first 85 minutes of Wednesday’s Jayhawk Conference game at the USD 308 Athletic Complex.
The Lady Dragons (11-0, 10-0 Jayhawk Conference) survived Cowley’s upset bid when sophomore Melissa Hetherington scored with 4 minutes, 38 seconds to play in regulation for a 2-1 victory over the Tigers.
The margin of victory should have been wider had it not been for the incredible play of Cowley goalkeeper Caitlyn Cosme, who turned in dazzling save after dazzling save against the high-scoring Lady Dragons.
Cosme had 11 saves; four were made when she was 1-on-1 with HCC players moving in on her. She made seven saves in the first half – a half where HCC was going with a 25 mph south wind – to keep the game at 1-0 at halftime.
That lone first-half goal came from freshman Danielle Sheehy, who netted her 28th of the season on a Courtney Gahagan assist with 15:48 to play,
When Cowley (7-3-1, 6-3-1) played with the wind, it was HCC sophomore goalkeeper Eunice Figueroa’s turn to be a difference-maker. After seeing only one shot in the first half, Cowley peppered Figueroa with five shots on goal in the second half.
One of those shots was a Cowley direct free kick from about 30 yards out that was misplayed by the Lady Dragon defense and got past for an own goal to tie the game at 1-1 with 42:35 to play in regulation.
From that point, Cowley carried the play to HCC. Figueroa had to make three saves, but with about 10 minutes remaining, the Lady Dragons put on a surge, going against the wind.
First, Sheehy was denied a second goal when Cosme came out to take away the angle and Sheehy drilled a shot off the cross bar.
Cosme made two more saves before the Lady Dragons made a major push on a counter attack. Sheehy sped the ball up the middle of the field and found Hetherington on the right side of the box. She made a move left past a defender and then scored past Cosme to give Hutchinson a 2-1 lead with 4:38 to play in the game.
Figueroa (7-0) finished with four saves.
HCC out-shot Cowley 23-8 and 13-5 in shots on goal.
The Lady Dragons play host to No. 19 Northern Oklahoma on Friday at the USD 308 Athletic Complex.
(HCC Sports Information)