Soccer loses championship tournament to No. 1 seed

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Sports Reporter

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Texas State soccer was eliminated from Sun Belt Championship Tournament play after its Nov. 8 loss against Western Kentucky.

The Bobcats’ soccer season ended Friday with a 1–0 loss to the number one seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, the Western Kentucky Lady Toppers.

Both teams were held scoreless until the 89th minute when freshman forward Iris Dunn scored the game-winner for Western Kentucky.

“We were trying not to make a mistake,” said Coach Kat Conner. “I told them at half time, ‘You have to get out of that mentality, because when you try not to make a mistake, you make a costly mistake.’”   

Going into Friday, the Lady Toppers were the best defensive team in the conference, allowing 71 goals per game and led the Sun Belt in shutouts with 10.

The Bobcats tried to attack Western Kentucky’s defense early when freshman forward Lauren Prater received a pass and took the ball one-on-one with the goalie but missed wide right.

“The ball was rolling really fast,” Prater said. “She (the goalie) was coming out really fast, and it looked like she was about to get it, so I thought I had to get a foot on it. I thought it was going in, but it was a little short.”

Prater started both tournament games as Conner was looking to use the speed of the freshman to the team’s advantage.
“Sometimes it’s good to give a team a different look,” Conner said. “We looked to try and go over the top a little bit with Prater and exploit her speed to match their speed.”

The Bobcats would get one more shot on goal from sophomore defender Kristen Champion. The Lady Toppers had the advantage in shots on goal 5–2. Dunn had three of those five shots.

By beating Texas State, the Lady Toppers moved on to face the South Alabama Jaguars, a team they beat in the regular season 1–0. Western Kentucky lost to the Jaguars in the championship game 1–0.

South Alabama’s only goal came from Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, Player of the Year and the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, freshman forward Lauren Allison. Allison’s goal came in the 20th minute after a breakaway for Western Kentucky’s backline.

The Jaguars will represent the Sun Belt in the NCAA tournament with the defeat of the Lady Toppers. The NCAA tournament begins Nov. 15.

Texas State played South Alabama in the regular season, tying the score after freshman midfielder Maddie Nichols landed her first career goal in the 84th minute to send the game to overtime.  

The Bobcats had two members of the club make the All-Sun Belt Conference team. Sophomore forward Lynsey Curry made the second team along with junior midfielder Tori Hale. Hale tied the Texas State record in assists in a season with seven.

In the first season of playing in Sun Belt, the Bobcats led the conference in attendance averaging 350 fans per game.