Sept. 13, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Rebecca Howell's first goal of the season snapped a 2-2 tie and propelled Auburn to a 3-2 win over Texas Tech on Sunday afternoon in the Auburn Soccer Classic. Mary Coffed had a goal and an assist in the victory as Auburn improved to 3-1-2 on the year.
"Texas Tech sent so many numbers forward from different positions, it gave us a really tough defensive challenge," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "Our backs were fantastic: Sammy (Towne), Lizzie (Hamersly) and Heather (Havron) did a great job of organizing us."
Howell returned to the field on Friday evening after missing time due to a leg injury but her return to the starting lineup on Sunday allowed her 60 minutes on the field, which she capitalized on by taking a team-high four (of 16) shots with the final providing the game-winning margin. Coffed took the ball down the bench side and spotted an uncovered Howell on the opposite side of the box. A lofted pass past a pair of Texas Tech defenders allowed Howell to go 1v1 with Texas Tech goalkeeper Erin Wikelius and beat her to the opposite post for her 15th career goal and first of the season.
"The goal was the easiest goal I ever scored in my life because Mary Coffed played a perfect ball. She did a really good job of getting me the ball in stride. It was right-footed, right into my run and she just made it really easy on me," Howell said.
Auburn built an early 2-0 lead 25 minutes into the match as Katy Frierson and Coffed each scored unassisted goals 10 minutes apart. Frierson's second goal of the season came after she went 1v1 with a defender at the top corner of the 18 before blowing past her and firing a shot past Wikelius for her 11th career goal.
Coffed tallied her second goal of the season as Auburn's defensive pressure created a Texas Tech turnover which resulted in Coffed shooting one in from 25 yards out.
Howell's game-winner became necessary after Auburn surrendered the early two-goal lead it had built as Maggie Fete scored off of a corner kick in the 43rd minute and Conner Williams fired the rebound of a Taylor Lytle shot off the post back in for her second goal of the season in the 63rd minute to tie it at 2-2.
"We did a great job of responding when we gave up goals," Hoppa said. "The girls fought right until the very end and this is a great result for us over a quality Big XII team."
Auburn goalkeeper Amy Howard, who entered the day leading the SEC in saves with 25, added six more to her totals as Texas Tech (4-3-0) took 23 shots. Her best save may have come in the 66th minute when her diving, finger-tip stop of a Brittney Harrison shot kept the game tied at 2-2.
Caitlin King narrowly missed scoring early in the second half when she rung a shot off the crossbar from just outside the 18.
In the day's first match, Vanderbilt and Missouri played to a 1-1 tie.
Auburn returns to the field on Friday, Sept. 18 when it faces Duke in Durham, N.C., at 7:30pm ET.