PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – Texas southern's 2021 spring soccer season came to a close Thursday afternoon as they fell to jackson state in the first round of the swac Tournament inside the pvamu Soccer Complex.
Seeded fifth entering Thursday's opener, TSU went into their postseason match ready to represent and redeem themselves as they dropped a close match to No. 4 jsu by a 2-1 margin several weeks ago.
“Today started like every other game. We were mentally prepared, energized, and ready to battle,” said head coach Lindsay Vera.
Similar to the past few games, it was back-and-forth until the 24th minute as JSU scored for a 1-0 lead which stood until the half. Three minutes into the second stanza, JSU upped its lead to 2-0 but TSU would trim its deficit in half as Crisley Pavon used her footwork to blow by the defender and set up Lemauriel Johnon for a goal in the 57th minute for a 2-1 deficit.
However, the momentum was short-lived as JSU scored two minutes later after the offense drew the goalie out just far enough to score for a 3-1 lead. From there, the tide of the contest turned as JSU scored five straight before TSU would score late in the 83rd minute as Carissa Reece scored a goal.
Despite the outcome, Vera said her team executed the game plan well and left it all on the field.
“Honestly, I must take this loss on my own, as the head coach. There is nothing that our squad did poorly,” Vera continued. “We moved off the ball well. We connected passes. We found players behind their backline. We challenged every 50-50 ball.”
The tigers fought to the very end of the 90-minute whistle knowing they gave their all throughout the historic season which had them dealing with COVID-19 postponements, a unique spring schedule and roster limitations due to injuries down the stretch.
“I couldn't be prouder of how resilient this team has been throughout such a season,” Vera added. “We fought until the final seconds. That is a mentality. That is not something a coach can teach. All credit goes to the players.”
With soccer set to resume in the fall and fall back to its traditional schedule, Vera will have a short timetable to prepare for the fall and will get to work immediately in order to get the program back into the upper echelon of the SWAC. One thing in her favor is the team is projected to lose only two seniors as the nucleus is back.
“I have a big task ahead of me in continuing to find and sign student-athletes who are going to enhance our program immediately and gel with our current core. We have a strong base to build upon.”