The Wildcats welcome conference leader Stephen F. Austin to Elmer Gray Stadium Friday with a chance take first place late in the season. ACU (6-1-1, 7-7-2) currently sits second in the conference behind the defending conference champion Ladyjacks (6-0-2, 7-6-2) and could bypass SFA with a win on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Wildcats begin their final three-game home stand of the season with SFA, and will play Sam Houston State (4-3-1, 7-6-2) on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ACU then closes out its season on Oct. 30 against Incarnate Word (1-5-2, 3-11-2) who sits at the bottom of the conference.
The match against the Ladyjacks could have major implications on how the final standings of the conference pan out. A win puts ACU in sole possession of first place with two games left in the season. A tie keeps the standings as is, with ACU still trailing SFA by a point. If the Wildcats lose, they could potentially fall into third place in the conference if defending tournament champion Houston Baptist wins against Lamar (2-5-1, 5-10-1).
The Wildcats are the hottest team in the conference as they are riding their five-game winning streak back home. Last weekend, ACU picked up a pair of road wins against Lamar and McNeese State. ACU scored a season-high six goals against the Cardinals in the 6-2 win in Beaumont.
The Cowgirls of McNeese State almost pulled off the upset against ACU. The Wildcats scored first in the match off freshman Sophie Standifer’s fifth goal of the season in the 20th minute to go up 1-0. ACU would add what appeared to be an insurance goal in the 86th minute to up by two. McNeese, who owns a subpar 2-6 home record, mounted a furious comeback with two goals in the 88th and 90th minutes of play to force overtime and stun the Wildcats.
The match would head into the second overtime period when junior Maria Gomez ended things for McNeese State and gave ACU the win. Her penalty kick score gave the Wildcats their sixth conference win of the season and kept ACU in second place, as a loss would have dropped them to third after HBU’s 3-1 win over Northwestern State.
Stephen F. Austin is no stranger to conference dominance, as they are unbeaten against Southland opponents, but have suffered two ties this year. The Ladyjacks come off a 4-0 win over Nicholls and a 2-0 victory against Southeastern Louisiana at home in Nacogdoches. SFA has been dominate at home this year, posting a 5-1-1 record at the SFA soccer field. They have been beatable on the road however, going 2-2-1 with their most recent tie coming to Central Arkansas in Conway in a 1-1 draw.
The Wildcats are winless against the Ladyjacks, falling 2-0 in 2013 and then last year in Abilene, 1-0. ACU kept things tied late into the match, but gave up a goal in the 82nd minute to win the game.
Sam Houston is tied for fourth place in the conference, but are an impressive 5-2 on the road. They are however winless in their last three matches, with losses to Nicholls (2-0) and Northwestern State (2-1 2OT) and a tie at the hands of SELU (0-0).
All-time, ACU is 2-0 against the Bearkats. Last season, the Wildcats edged SHSU in Huntsville, 3-2, and took a 2-0 win in Abilene in 2013.