From the outside looking in, Jasmine Parada's disappointment over a couple missed scoring opportunities in the first half Monday might seem odd. She has, as The Master's University's last three opponents can attest, been a second-half sparkplug.
"I told her to be lighthearted and have fun," said Mustang women's soccer coach Curtis Lewis, of what he said to Parada at halftime. "'You're going to get an opportunity.'"
For the third straight game, Parada scored in the first six minutes of the second half, and the Mustangs went on to a 2-0 win over NAIA No. 21 Kansas Wesleyan University at Reese Field.
The goal was Parada's team-best seventh of the season. It built on senior Victoria Gama's goal in the 27th minute, and it pushed the Mustangs (6-0) closer to their fourth win of the season over a team currently ranked in the NAIA's top 25.
In hindsight, Lewis said he would have been pleased with a 5-1 mark after what looked like a brutal first six games. He said it's important now, though, to relay perspective to a group that has outscored its opponents 24-3 so far.
"I think the key is trying to keep the girls levelheaded now," Lewis said. "We could easily become a little complacent, and I think that's what we saw in the second half. We had that game won, and I think they put it a little on cruise control."
The Coyotes (0-2) couldn't get one by Kaylee Poffek, though. The senior goalkeeper made three saves on a day when the Mustangs managed most of the shots.
In the first half, The Master's outshot the Coyotes 12-2. Gama's goal came off assists by Tara Aalem and Hailey Gomillion.
It also came after a challenge.
Before the game, Lewis said he talked to Gama, who entered the day without a goal or assist, about taking care of business.
"I said, 'Let's get something done,'" Lewis said. "And she went out and really performed well today. She played like a senior today, and that's a good stepping-stone for her."
The Mustangs will play again Saturday when they host the University of Antelope Valley at Reese Field. Game time is set for 11 a.m.