Stockton, Calif. - The Pacific Tigers defeated the Missouri State Bears Sunday afternoon, winning 4-3 to move their record to 5-4 on the season. The Tigers have now won four of their last five games, with their sole loss in that time coming 1-0 at the hands of No. 14 Delaware. The win came thanks to a strong offensive first 50 minutes, during which "we controlled the game," said Coach Andy Smith. "I give [Missouri State] full credit for working their butts off the entire game, they made it very difficult."
Laura Pujade made four saves in the game, including a diving stop in the last two minutes to keep the lead intact. Pujade came far out of net early in the first half to put an end to a breakaway attack and prevent Missouri State from taking the lead. It was Pujade's fifth win of the season.
Pacific took a two-goal lead into halftime thanks to goals from Alicia Muiños and Taylor Dempsey. Muiños was able to beat Missouri State's Megan Drew with a low shot on the run that found the left corner to make it 1-0. Dempsey's goal was the first of the season for her, coming when Dempsey knocked a through ball over the sliding goalie. Rylee Comeau assisted on Dempsey's goal.
A goal by Axelle Steffen early in the second half pushed Pacific's lead to 3-0. Steffen took a pass from Savannah Burns deep in the circle, beating the goalie before Missouri State was able to reposition. It was Steffen's first goal of the season as well.
The Bears were able to fight back into the game, starting with a goal from Holly Scherer at 40:11. A ball sent in from outside the circle by Patrice Ahl bounced to Scherer, who got enough on the redirect to score.
The Tigers later scored on one of their six second half penalty corners. Nicole Laskosky and Katharine Egan assisted on Burns' fourth goal of the year. Burns' shot weaved through heavy traffic in the left corner of the goal to make it 4-1.
Two late goals by Missouri State cut the deficit to just one with three minutes to play. Leah Reitmayer scored first for the Bears, stealing the ball from a defender and beating Pujade one-on-one. Scherer's second goal of the game came at 67:18 at the end of a three-on-one break. Pujade was able to get her stick on the shot but not enough to prevent the goal.
Strong defense from the Tigers on a series of penalty corners as the game wound to a close kept victory in hand. Pujade made a diving save on a shot off the corner, followed by Missouri State sending the rebound shot off the post to end their last attack of the game. "We're progessing," said Smith about the team's effort in the game.
Pacific hits the road next, travelling to Michigan to face off with Central Michigan on Thursday at noon. The Tigers will also play the Michigan Wolverines on Friday at 4:00 pm and the Michigan State Spartans on Sunday at 9:00 am.
Make sure to follow Pacific field hockey on Twitter with the user name @PacificTigersFH and on Instagram at pacifictigersfh.