In what turned into a war of attrition, the Warhawk soccer team notched a milestone victory for the program by downing perennial Sun Belt-power North Texas, 3-2, at the ULM Soccer Complex on Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore Tiffany Bombard scored a pair of goals while senior Jeana Chesnik blasted a 45-yard shot for the game winner to give ULM (4-5, 1-1 Sun Belt) the victory.
"We knew coming into today that we needed to match the desire and intensity we played with Friday," ULM head coach Stacy Lamb said. "I really felt like we set the tone early by being the more aggressive and more physical team. We knew how we wanted to attack North Texas and it is a real credit to our girls for sticking with it.
The Warhawks set the physical tone early and knocked North Texas (7-2, 1-1 Sun Belt) on its heels. ULM ended the game with a 21-5 advantage in fouls given.
The game started as a defensive battle with both defenses swallowing any scoring opportunity for the other team.
Senior Kendall Dawkins served a pass to Bombard on the wing and the ULM forward broke through for the Warhawks. The Las Vegas, Nev., native made the score 1-0 after beating NT keeper Mandy Hall to the far post.
Just before halftime, Bombard struck again. Knifing through the middle of the field, she took a short deflection from freshman Lindsay Tubbs, beat the North Texas defense, and smoked a shot past Hall for the 2-0 lead.
"Tiffany has proven against the top two teams in the conference this weekend just how special a player she is," Lamb said. "She has been overlooked so far this season, but with three scores this weekend the other schools in our conference should take notice. She's a great teammate and a great player."
Nursing a two-goal lead and having lost two starters due to injury in the second half, ULM packed it in on defense.
North Texas would cut into the ULM advantage early in the second half. Following a ULM foul in the 51st minute, Gennifer Hurst powered a free kick through the box where Julie Lackey collected it and beat Warhawk junior keeper Mallory George.
The two teams traded possessions before Chesnik was able to give ULM the game-winning blast. The Phoenix, Ariz., native's second score of the season was a laser shot that skipped just under the crossbar and made it a 3-1 advantage.
"Jeana came through huge for us today," Lamb said. "She needed that for herself, but we really needed that goal as a team. She has more heart than most teams have as a whole and it showed today. Our entire team stepped up. We just flat out weren't going to allow ourselves to lose this game."
Lackey scored her second goal of the game to once again cut into the North Texas deficit, but it wasn't enough. The Warhawks held on and handed the Mean Green their first loss against a team from the state of Louisiana.
ULM returns to the road next Friday when they travel to Little Rock, Ark. for a 7 p.m. match against UALR. The Trojans split the opening weekend of conference play, winning at Troy on Friday night before falling at South Alabama on Sunday afternoon.