Grambling State knew what had to be done. They knew in order to defeat their opponents, who traveled nearly 30 minutes from Monroe, they had to strike quickly. That’s exactly what GSU did.GSU (2-1) defeated University of Louisiana-Monroe (1-1) in a 2-1 victory that appeared to be well-earned.
Lady Tiger Obafemi “Femi” Alao, a forward, scored the first goal less than four minutes into the game. The assist came from Natasha Nzeakor, a midfielder.
“It felt great,” said Alao. “It gave me confidence. We stepped up early in setting the pace in the game. It also threw the other team off.”
The Lady Tigers stayed in attack mode through most of the first half, leaving ULM defenders scrambling to protect and the offenders desperate to score. However, the defenders let another goal sink into the net, this time by freshman forward Ashley Baker, who received help again from Nzeakor.
Baker was happy with her efforts.
“It feels good to help our team win,” she said. “Our job is to put the ball in the back of the net. It feels good to complete my job as a forward.”
With consistent pressure and the defense stepping up, the Lady Tigers held ULM scoreless in the first half. Part of the credit goes to goalie Cherie Silas, who stopped a penalty kick toward the end of the first half.
Sara Islas, of the Lady Warhawks, got her chance to put ULM on the board, but Silas stopped that attempt with an arm-stretching save.
“I just knew that the way she runs, the ball always goes to the left,” Silas said after the game. “It felt good just knowing we still had the lead.”
At the end of the first half, the Lady Tigers held strong, keeping a two-score advantage. At the beginning of the second half, however, ULM went on the offensive. It didn’t take long for Islas to get her revenge on Silas, planting the ball in the back of the net 12 minutes into the half.
As the game ended and players shook hands, Tamura Crawley, head coach of the Lady Tigers, was dissatisfied despite the win.
“I’m just really frustrated,” she said after the game. “We played a good first half. The second half was not good at all. We had a mental lapse, and that’s why they were able to score. Against the SWAC, you can’t afford those.”
Part of the mental lapse, according to Crawley, included keeping the ball and taking more shots. The Lady Tigers took eight total shots to ULM’s 17. However, Crawley is still happy the team won.
“I think winning helps our morale,” she said, “but I don’t think the girls were happy with their defense. But winning is good. I’m glad we won, but I know my team could’ve done a better job.”
The Lady Tigers’ next contest will be a trip to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.