Sophomore Andrea Carpenter scored both of Abilene Christian’s goals en route to a 2-0 win over Texas A&M-Commerce Friday at the Wildcat Soccer Pitch in the semifinal round of the Lone Star Conference Conference Championship.
The top-seeded Wildcats (18-0-1) will now play for the LSC Conference Championship Sunday at 1 p.m. against second seed Midwestern State at the Wildcat Soccer Pitch.
The game will be a rematch of last year’s conference championship where ACU trumped MSU 2-0 in the same game played in Wichita Falls. The Wildcats are 2-0 against the Mustangs this year and 3-0 in their last three meeting prior to losing the first five.
In the 54th minute, Carpenter headed in a redirected corner kick from Lexi Stirling, and then booted in her own rebound after being the recipient of a Julie Coppedge pass in the 79th minute.
“Midwestern had a hard time containing Andrea today because Krysta (Grimm) and the attacking midfielders did a good job of feeding her the ball,” ACU head coach Casey Wilson said. “But Andrea sure had a heck of a game.”
The goals were Carpenter’s 13th and 14th on the year, respectively. The Amarillo native was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year at the awards banquet Wednesday night for the second straight year.Â Carpenter now has 31 points on the year.
Commerce and ACU entered halftime knotted at zero, although the Wildcats had numerous opportunities to score. Commerce goalkeeper Randi Hafele stood strong in the goal and denied ACU’s six first half shots on goal.
“I was really frustrated with myself, because I had really good opportunities and I didn’t put them away,” Carpenter said. “I know that’s important, especially in games like this, to put them away early. So I was nervous. But we talked at halftime about coming out and putting them away. Everybody worked hard to get that done.”
Within minutes after halftime ended, ACU finally sent a ball past Hafele. Stirling was the instigator on the score, as she booted a corner kick that landed in the middle of a mass of players. Krysta Grimm was the first to get her head on the ball, as she hit it upward.Â As the ball was falling down, it found Carpenter’s head and was redirected to the back of the Midwestern goal.
Carpenter’s second goal was initiated by a Coppedge pass. As the forward was running up the seam, Coppedge passed the ball to Carpenter whose first shot was blocked by Hafele. But, she couldn’t hang onto the ball, and Carpenter capitalized from short range off the Hafele deflection.
The ACU defense continued its domination Friday, as the unit allowed only two shots on goal and 13 shots total. Goalkeeper Elliott London made both saves en route to her seventh shutout and the team’s 11th.
“The defense played very well and held us up on offense,” Wilson said. “Everyone I thought had a great game and we made some great decisions.”
The Wildcats and Mustangs will tango at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Wildcat Soccer Pitch.
“Midwestern is a tough team,” Wilson said. “They’re stacked with athletes, and we had a tough game against them last time. We expect to play a good match against them Sunday. I feel like we should be ready to go.”