The Colonels soccer team always knew the day was going to come when they would have to bounce back from a bad day. A fast start to the season can only stay fast for so long for a team rebuilding from the bottom. 

That day finally came last Sunday in a 2-1 loss on the road to Prairie View A&M, the first disappointing result of the season for Nicholls soccer and first-year head coach Danny Free. 

There were some good points, Free pointed out. In the old days Nicholls would’ve collapsed the second it went down 1-0 in the 58th minute. Instead the Colonels evened the score just four minutes later on a goal by Elisabet Gunnthorsdottir before going down again in the 73rd. 

But now comes the hard part when the Colonels discover what the team is really made of. 

They know they can win, but can they lose? 

Nicholls will find out today at in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. 

"We’re going to find out where our mindset is," Free said. "The one thing I was happy about Sunday was they know they didn’t play well. When they went 1-0 down, in the past we probably would’ve, maybe not given in, but not have the toughness to come back. 

"Both goals were our mistakes. That shows we still have things to work on mentally and physically and tactically, but then also I was proud in the fact that they didn’t play well and we were still very much in the game." 

Last Sunday was just one of those days when nothing seems to go as planned. Free said it’s possible to come back from three or four players having an off day, but seven or eight is a bit more challenging. 

The Colonels understand what went wrong. Keeper Roosa Hurmerinta said the team came back Tuesday morning with a strong practice. 

Hurmerinta did not play against Prairie View A&M in order to rest for the Cajuns, but she previously recorded eight saves in the first three games while giving up on one goal. 

While Hurmerinta has the fewest saves of any primary starter in the Southland Conference, her .310 goals against average is a full goal lower than her next closest competition. Four games into the season, Nicholls has the best goals against average in the league allowing just .75 per game, almost half of their next closest rival. 

"We need to get back to our level," Hurmerinta said. "We kind of didn’t get there on Sunday. It was good at practice (on Tuesday). I think we’re good." 

Those marks will be put to the test in Lafayette against likely one of the best teams Nicholls faces during its non-conference schedule. 

The game was a late addition to the schedule due to a prior cancellation against Louisiana Tech left Nicholls one game below the maximum of 20 allowed by the NCAA. 

"The easy thing to do is have a knee-jerk reaction and scrap everything you’ve done," Free said. "But we trust our philosophy. We trust our values. We trust what we’re doing. I think we have to keep faith with that."