EMPORIA — Starting conference play with a clean slate, the Fort Hays State women's soccer team hoped to begin its MIAA season on a high note. However, a second half offensive surge was not enough as Emporia State captured the 3-2 win over Fort Hays State in a Sunday tilt. With the loss, the Tigers dropped to 2-4-2 overall and 0-1 in MIAA play. The Hornets improved to 6-1-1 and 1-0 in conference play.
The Hornets got on the board first as Daniela Cardona earned her first goal of the season following a solo shot from 30-yards out on the right side. Emporia State would take the 1-0 lead into halftime over the Tigers.
The second half saw offensive breakthroughs for both squads as four goals were tallied between the two teams. Quickly into the first two minutes of the second half, Vianei Sanchez netted her third goal of her senior campaign at the 46:15 mark. Sanchez completed a header from a corner kick by Jordan Thompson to tie up the match at 1-1. The Tigers would not settle down as Nikita Woods managed her first goal in an FHSU uniform following a touch shot eight yards out off the foot of Shayla Podlena just 37 seconds later. This 2-1 lead would be Fort Hays State's only lead of the match.
After calming down the Fort Hays State offense, Emporia State regained the momentum after a Tanna Benefiel goal off a header from a free kick. Ashlyn Lakin would record the assist for the equalizing goal. The Hornets would sting one last time in the match to reclaim the lead following another assist from Lakin, this time connecting with Rachel Marshall on a header from 10 yards out. This would turn out to be the game-winning goal as Emporia State captured the 3-2 victory.
Emporia State out-shot Fort Hays State 21-5 and 6-4 in shots on goal. Five different Tigers attempted a shot in the match. Three yellow cards were handed out in the match with Jordan Thompson collecting one in the final minutes of play for the Tigers and the other two going to the Hornets.
Megan Kneefel was once again the anchor in goal, this time collecting three saves in her 90 minutes of play. Kneefel has recorded 36 saves on the season and mimics her team's record. The winning goalie for the Hornets was Jillian Patton who notched two saves in the contest.
Fort Hays State is back home for two matches this upcoming weekend, starting with a 7 p.m. Friday battle against Central Oklahoma. Sunday's match against Northeastern State is slated for 1 p.m. inside FHSU Soccer Stadium.