Despite otherwise ‘dominating’ performance, Wildcats fall to Sugar Bears

Abby Sieperda, junior forward, controls the ball during the Wildcats scrimmage on August 6, 2016 at the K-State Soccer Complex. (File Photo by Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

The K-State Wildcats soccer team again fell behind early in a game and was unable to recover, losing 1-0 to Central Arkansas Friday night.

The Sugar Bears took the lead in the 21st minute when sophomore midfielder and forward Ashley Smith headed in a corner to beat K-State redshirt junior goalkeeper Miranda Larkin. It was just Larkin’s second goal allowed this season.

K-State’s offense never was able to overcome the goal. Though they mounted a strong effort to tie the game, the two goalkeepers for Central Arkansas only made three total saves on 22 total shots.

It was their fourth shutout in a row, and the fourth win straight for the Sugar Bears.

Assistant coach Jessica Smith said in a radio interview that while it was encouraging that the Wildcats generated some good opportunities, particularly in the second half, the team must learn to capitalize on them.

“Going forward, our young team has to learn from this,” Smith said. “We created a lot of chances which is great, but in the game we play there are only going to be two or three (opportunities to score each game) and we have to capitalize on them.”

The Wildcats had been better offensively later in games this season going into Friday night, and that trend continued as the Wildcats. Though they outshot the Sugar Bears 9-8 in the first half, they outshot them even further in the second, 13-7.

But Smith’s goal remained the difference despite the Wildcats’ best efforts.

K-State head coach Mike Dibbini said to K-State Sports that the Wildcats dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard.

“We just couldn’t buy a goal tonight,” Dibbini said to K-State Sports. “It was one of those games that whatever we did offensively, which we did, we just couldn’t figure out that last touch of the ball to put it away.”

K-State’s final matchup of their season-opening eight game road trip will be against the University of Little Rock Trojans at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.