The women’s soccer team clenched the 6th and final spot in the Lone Star Conference post-season tournament this weekend with a 2-1 victory over Texas A&M-Commerce, and a 4-0 win over Texas Women’s at the Wildcat Soccer Pitch.
“We are proud of the ladies for fighting back and earning a spot in the tournament,” head coach Casey Wilson said. “When things do not work out the first time you get a chance to start over at the LSC tournament.”
Junior forward Andrea Carpenter struck early in Friday’s game against Commerce, scoring her fourth goal of the season just within the third minute of the match when Lions goalkeeper Tracey Rogers couldn’t get a hand on the ball.
Within only a few minutes, senior midfielder Julie Coppedge forced a turnover and booted another goal in from about 20 yards back, making the score 2-0.
Coppedge leads the team with five goals this season followed by Carpenter with four.
The Wildcats’ goals were unanswered until the second half, when Brionna Minde scored on a corner kick, making the score 2-1.
The Lions had a few more opportunities to score, but senior goalkeeper Arielle Moncure had three more saves in the addition to her defense clearing a few shots. Rogers finished with seven.
“It has come down to focusing on the little things and putting to action the repition of what we do in practice as far as finishing opportunities in front of the goal and stretching the other teams out to work the ball up the field,” Wilson said.
Commerce out-shot ACU 11-7 in the second half, 16-15 in the match.
In order to secure a spot in the LSC post-season tournament, the ‘Cats needed another win against Texas Women’s who was tied with ACU in fifth place. On Sunday, the Wildcats not only crushed TWU 4-0, but won their third game in a row to clench the final tournament spot.
“A lot of hard work over the past few weeks finally paid off, and we’re coming together as a strong team that truly believes in each other,” said sophomore midfielder Megan Turner. “A national championship is now in reach.”
Junior midfielder Jacey Ferrera scored both her first and second goals of the season Sunday at Wildcat Soccer pitch, first in the 16th and then later in the 89th minute.
Senior forward Krysta Grimm scored her fourth goal of the season in the 34th minute, and Turner scored her second goal of the year in the 83rd minute. Turner’s goal came on a corner kick by senior defender Lexi Stirling, which Turner headed in the goal.
“Lexi served up a perfect ball and I just jumped as high as I could to head the ball into the goal,” Turner said. “It just felt natural.”
The Pioneers never challenged the ‘Cats, even though they outshot ACU 4-3 in the first half. Because of their poor shooting, Moncure finished the game with only one save. It was Moncure’s fifth shutout of the season.
“We knew going into this game that it was critical that we win in order to make the playoffs,” Turner said. “Our performance as a team was the best we’ve seen all season and it showed in the score. There was an overwhelming excitement amongst all of us when we reached our fourth point knowing we were about to secure a playoff position.”
The Wildcats return to action on Friday, when they host Midwestern State at 4 p.m. in their final regular season game at Wildcat Soccer Pitch here in Abilene.
“The ladies will be heading into their fifth consecutive post-season tournament, and in the past two years have been in the championship game,” Wilson said. “We need to continue to focus on the process of staying sharp and playing our game. It starts with Friday’s game against Midwestern to keep taking the steps needed to playing even better soccer.”