Trailing 2-0, University of Central Arkansas freshman Brooke Ballard scored her first collegiate goal with a minute and a half remaining, and fellow freshman Alex Wurst narrowly missed what would have been the game-tying goal in the final minute as the Bears fell 2-1 on Friday to Louisiana-Monroe in the season opener for both teams.
ULM (1-0) got on the board first in the 13th minute when Alyssa Lopez scored on a rebound from her previous shot, which had been saved by UCA goalkeeper Kelsey Gochnauer and deflected back out. The Warhawks went ahead 2-0 in the 62nd minute on a goal from Alyssa Wooden into an empty net.
The Bears (0-1) rallied late as Ballard, a former Conway High standout, punched one past ULM keeper Hannah Linzay with 1:30 remaining to cut the deficit in half. UCA nearly drew into a tie with under 40 seconds remaining as Wurst lobbed a kick toward the very top of the frame, but Linzay was able to deflect the ball, which ricocheted off the crossbar and out of bounds, giving the Bears a corner kick with less than 30 seconds to play.
Unfortunately for the Bears, they were unable to convert in the final seconds and fell to the Warhawks in the season opener for the second consecutive season.
UCA will travel to Nashville to take on Lipscomb at 1 p.m. Sunday.