Lady Buffs test No.9-rated Houghton
For 60 minutes Saturday, the Milligan College Lady Buffaloes were playing up to par with one of the NAIA's top ten squads.
However, the visiting ninth-ranked, undefeated Houghton College Lady Highlanders out of New York picked up two goals within three minutes of each other, escaping Carter County with a 2-0 victory.
"They were good," said Milligan coach Dave Dixon of Houghton. "They haven't given up many goals this year. We played pretty well, but in the final third of the game we were unlucky.
"We were close at times, but a step off of their pace."
Milligan (8-7-1, 4-2-1) played strong defense against the pesky Lady Highlander offense, but was only allowed one shot on goal during the entire game.
The visiting squad had 12 shots compared to Milligan's nine in the game.
In the second half, Houghton (13-0-0) kept the game in its half of the field, making Milligan step up its defense.
The game became about lucky breaks, and the 'Landers grabbed two breaks quickly around the 65-minute mark.
After blocking a kick, Houghton's Bethany Kowalczyk worked through three defenders after a pass to score the game's first goal, at 23:45.
In no time, the ball was back at that end of the field. Britany Crozier intercepted a kick, and Kowalczyk came out with the games second and final goal after an assist from Dana Benedict at the 21:32 mark in the game.
"(Kowalczyk) is a strong, fast, good player," Dixon said. "But I feel like if we were healthier, that it's maybe a closer game. Anything can happen in the end."
"I'm not disappointed (in our performance)," he said. "We didn't lose by not playing well. That's encouragement for the playoffs. They are better than the teams in our region. I think we can challenge the teams in our region."
Milligan goalkeeper Melissa Thompson had seven saves in the game, while Houghton keeper Meghan Radimer faced one shot on goal and had one save.
Krista Fowlkes had seven corner kicks to lead the 'Landers, and Kowalczyk had five shots with her two goals.
Bridget Toth had two shots, while Heidi Toth and Kim Gehl each had one shot apiece for Houghton.
Leading the way for Milligan with three shots was Dagmar Yr Arnardottir. Kristin Zutt and Stephanie Junkin each had two shots apiece.
Milligan next faces Union College at home Tuesday in AAC action.
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