Broncos Roll 3-0 in Season Opener
Aug. 22, 2014
BRONCO WOMEN'S SOCCER
The Broncos (1-0-0) controlled possession and tempo for much of the match. They outshot the Bulldogs 11-1 and attempted six corner kicks to Drake's one. Drake (0-1-0) was unable to get a shot on goal, the first time Boise State has held an opponent without one since 2009, and just the fourth time in program history.
"It feels great to get through the first 90 competitive minutes of the season with that kind of result," said head coach Jim Thomas. "There are just so many different nerves from all over it's hard to know how everyone is going to react and you saw some of that in the first half."
Boise State took three shots in the first half, but saw many of its chances close quickly.
"They did a nice job of stifling a lot of the things we're used to getting in games," Thomas said. "We talked at halftime about speeding things up, being more aggressive and getting toward the goal quicker. It paid off almost immediately."
Tucker got the scoring started in the 59th minute, finishing from seven yards out at the mouth of the goal after Kelsey Nicassio and Kelli Drobney worked it in to her. Nicassio took the ball from the middle of the field toward the left edge of the 18-yard box before switching fields back to Drobney on the right. Drobney sent a pass right at Tucker's feet in front of the net.
"The work Drobney did to place a clinical cross to Tucker was outstanding," Thomas said. "It was such a nice piece of build up by the entire team to get to that point it was great to make that play and get that finish."
Nicassio and Drobney were both given an assist on the goal, the second of each of their careers. For Nicassio, a junior, it is her first point since Sept. 21, 2012.
Moments later, Heidemann found herself with the ball near midfield and a breakaway in front of her. She tore down the center of the field keeping her distance from a charging defender and setting up a one-on-one with Drake's goalkeeper who came out to challenge the run. Heidemann juked left and buried a strike from 25 yards out for a commanding 2-0 lead in the 63rd minute.
The junior also scored in last season's opening game, before going on to lead the Broncos with nine goals on the year. This was the 12th tally of her career, moving Heidemann into a tie with senior Shannon Schueren for 10th on the all-time scoring list at Boise State.
Boise State kept attacking and found a third goal on a combination play between Taylor and Kelli McCluskey. Taylor moved the ball across the field from right to left, finding McCluskey on the left wing. McCluskey sent it back to the middle of the field for Taylor to run on to near the top of the box. Taylor scorched a shot inside the far post to cap the scoring in the 85th minute.
Taylor, a true freshman, had entered the match for the first time just 13 minutes earlier. She becomes the first freshman to score in a season opener since Chelsea Robinson in 2008.
Janelle Flores became the first true freshman to start a season opener at goalkeeper in more than a decade (Kim Parker, 2003). Flores saw little pressure, but helped orchestrate an impressive team effort on the defensive end. She recorded the shutout without having to make a save and faced just one shot. It is only the second time in program history the Broncos have held an opponent to one shot in a match (Sept. 11, 2009, vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff).
"Janelle was so loud, so vocal and so quick to organize things for us," Thomas said. "This was a brilliant performance. She's very smart back there and has the ability to be a big-time game changer for us. She really handled it great today and she's only going to get better and better as the season and her career go on."
Thomas also lauded the defenders for squashing almost every Drake threat very early.
"Drake had some moments higher up the pitch that looked like they could have led to opportunities," Thomas said. "Our center backs just did a great job of being strong and not letting the dominoes start falling."
Thomas specifically mentioned how impressed he was with the play of junior Dominique Banks who moved to a new position as a center back instead of a wing back this season.
The newcomers also played a large role in the opener. Dani Brown joined Flores as the only true freshmen in the starting lineup. All eight first-year Broncos saw action in the match. Jenna Club and Jessie Vogel made their collegiate debuts in the first half, while Madi Campbell, Sierra Carrington, Kelly Jameson and Taylor saw their first action in the second half.
"We learned a lot about ourselves and how much depth we have, especially at the back," said Thomas. "It was great to get so many people in today and get some very valuable experience as early as possible."
Boise State will take on tournament host Portland State Sunday, with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. (PT). The match will be streamed live at WatchBigSky.com for free.
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