Signature soccer win for McNeese; Cowgirls celebrate historic victory

<p class="p1">While the McNeese State soccer team enjoyed a much-deserved day off one day after earning a 3-2 overtime victory against Arkansas, head coach Drew Fitzgerald took some time to reflect on what he called a historic win for the program.

<p class="p1">The victory marked the first time the Cowgirls (3-1) have ever hosted a Power 5 conference team, and they made the most of the big stage with a dramatic one-goal victory in the second overtime with a rebound into the net by Hanava Johnson.

{{tncms-inline content="&amp;lt;p class=&amp;quot;p1&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;span class=&amp;quot;s1&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;strong&amp;gt;‘It puts us on the map, for sure.’&amp;lt;/strong&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/span&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt; &amp;lt;p class=&amp;quot;p2&amp;quot;&amp;gt;&amp;lt;strong&amp;gt;Drew Fitzgerald&amp;lt;/strong&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt; &amp;lt;p class=&amp;quot;p3&amp;quot;&amp;gt;McNeese head coach&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt; &amp;lt;p class=&amp;quot;p3&amp;quot;&amp;gt;on team’s victory over Arkansas &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;" id="b128fd49-77be-45d1-9205-6769d36b0d5b" style-type="quote" title="Pull Quote" type="relcontent"}}

<p class="p1">After giving up a 2-1 lead in the final minute of regulation Fitzgerald said more than anything he was impressed with the mental toughness his team displayed facing such a big obstacle against such a high-caliber opponent.

<p class="p1">“I was just impressed with our girls not let that affect us,” Fitzgerald said. “We could have gone into overtime and just quit. That was heartbreaking. But they kept battling.”

<p class="p1">Fitzgerald pointed out the performance of freshman backup goalkeeper Gabrielle Christy, who got her first minutes in a collegiate game after replacing starter Emma Roccaforte who left the game in the 32nd minute after a collision with her teammate Nola Prickett.

<p class="p1">It’s hard to argue the significance of such a victory, which Fitzgerald referred to one of the most significant nonconference win in the program’s history.

<p class="p1">“It gives us attention we haven’t had,” he said. “It puts us on the map, for sure. We’re going to enjoy this time until Tuesday.”

<p class="p1">That’s all the time the Cowgirls have to celebrate before turning their attention to their next opponent in Louisiana-Monroe, which they host Friday at 7 p.m.

<p class="p1">Fitzgerald even said he had a coaching colleague at another SEC school that reminded him that his challenge now is to get his team refocused.

<p class="p1">“We’re enjoy it right now watching the videos of the goals, but come (Tuesday) it’s time to focus on UL-Monroe,” Fitzgerald said. “If you go and start dropping games you think you should win, it doesn’t matter. But if you can use it as a springboard for the program, then it’s great.”

<p class="p1">Fitzgerald said there’s something to learn from every game McNeese plays, and Sunday night he learned just how tough his team is and how much potential the Cowgirls have.

<p class="p1">He got a hint a week prior when the Cowgirls fought Big 12 opponent TCU in a 1-0 losing effort, but their performance against the Razorbacks sealed his assurance this team can make a big splash this season.

<p class="p1">“We knew we had a good team, but when go out and battle and you see your team can fight a team like that, I think it gives us all the confidence that what we’re seeing is right,” Fitzgerald said. “It wasn’t a pretty game, and we’ve struggled in the past when teams play real direct with us. We handled it really well (Sunday) night.”

<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>‘It puts us on the map, for sure.’</strong></span>

<p class="p2"><strong>Drew Fitzgerald</strong>

<p class="p3">McNeese head coach

<p class="p3">on team’s victory over Arkansas 

SportsPlus

Local News

Sowela photography students open exhibit at LC City Hall

Crime

7/11: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Crime

BREAKING: Charges upgraded against mother of dead boy, recovered toddler

Crime

Trucker driver who found missing 1-year-old: ‘I told him, “It’s gonna be all right, little man,” ‘

McNeese Sports

McNeese signs $2.5M deal with Memorial Health

Business

BUSINESS UPDATE: Albertsons on Country Club in danger of closing

Local News

Houston utility says 500K customers still won’t have electricity next week as Beryl outages persist

Local News

Iowa mayor makes motion to adjourn in middle of council meeting

Local News

GOP moves to alter abortion position: At Trump’s behest, RNC votes to no longer call for national ban

life

Nonprofit converts empty, historic north LC house for new homeownership

Local News

Newly named Superintendent VanMetre: ‘It’s all about people, all the time’

Business

PHOTO GALLERY: Capital One Tower skybridge now a pile of rubble

Crime

Driver sought in Pujol Road hit-and-run

Local News

Kennedy, Cassidy announce $2.1M in hurricane aid for Diocese of LC

Crime

7/10: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

House GOP wants proof of citizenship to vote, boosting an election-year talking point

Local News

What cognitive tests can show — and what they can’t

Business

VIDEO: Capital One Tower skybridge gone

Local News

McNeese Athletic Foundation under new management

News

McNeese opener moved to ESPN2

Local News

Southwest Louisiana 50-year master plan a winner

Local News

DeRidder City Council vote for president ends in a tie

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Landry reshaping Supreme Court

Local News

BREAKING: VanMetre named next superintendent