The Howard University women’s soccer team snapped a 10-game winless streak with a 1-0 win against the Long Island University Sharks (3-8-3). The Bison went to Brookville, New York, for their fifth Northeast Conference Game and left with their first win of the 2022 season.
Sophomore midfielder Rachel Asare spoke about the team’s energy throughout the season.
“We definitely started off with a lot of high and positive energy in the beginning of the season,” Asare said. “I think it’s a little difficult to keep the same energy with our current record, but we are doing our best to stay motivated and hopeful for our upcoming games.”
Howard came out strong to start the contest. The Bison were able to transfigure a corner kick into a header in the top right corner of the field. Graduate midfielder Thalia Boucher got her first assist of the season, setting up graduate midfielder Victoria Thornton for her first goal of the year. The Sharks were aggressive but could not combat Howard’s defensive force and responsive offense.
The first half ended with the Bison recording four fouls and Long Island tallying seven. The Sharks executed a straight target of six shots to begin the second half, allowing them to outshoot the Bison 19-10. Despite their effort, Long Island came up short, granting Howard its first win of the year.
Asare shared a message that head coach Brent Leiba gave the team leading up to this win. She emphasized that these words from Coach Leiba motivated the team going into this matchup.
“‘When people think of HBCUs, they think of Howard,’” Asare said. “‘We are the brand of HBCUs. So when we go out to play, not only do we represent Howard, we represent HBCUs as well.’”
While Howard was able to walk away with a victory, their current team’s state is underwhelming compared to last year. The women’s soccer team finished 2021 with a 6-5-3 record while boasting a substantial student presence at their games. Asare says the fan turnout has been disappointing this time around.
“The student presence is nothing compared to last year,” Asare said. “I think in our first game against Hampton last year, we had more than 3,000 people at our game, so the presence is definitely lacking this year.”
The Bison hope to keep the win streak going as they travel back home to face Central Connecticut State on Oct. 9. Asare discusses the Bison’s preparation for this matchup at Greene Stadium.
“We are just going to focus on one game at a time and play each game as if it’s our last game of the season,” Asare continued. “We know we’ve dug ourselves a hole with our record. I think we know the amount of talent we have on this team and how all our losses have been self-inflicted. This helps us to stay motivated because we know the potential that we have.”
Copy edited by Alana Matthew