prairie view, Texas – texas southern dug deep with a true team effort as they opened the southwestern athletic conference (swac) Soccer Championship with a 2-0 win over Alabama State University Thursday afternoon.
“Today was all about mentality. We've been through ups and downs and been through some odd results this season. But today was only about this game. It was only about us. And we continued that through the 90 minutes.” said head coach Lindsey Vera.
Due to a red card issued in the regular season finale to the team's starting goalie, TSU turned to junior Karryn Henderson in a huge way. She made her goalkeeping debut in yesterday's match in true style with a total of three saves throughout the match.
The Tigers had their first shot attempt in the fourth minute by graduate student Ari Mendez. The remainder of the first half saw shot attempts from freshman Alyssa Taylor, senior Ayana Noel, and junior Victoria Pucci. All posted shot attempts within minutes of each other by the 15th minute of the match and a final attempt by junior Sammie Garcia in the remaining five minutes of the first half.
The Hornets may have had possession of the ball in the first portion of the second half but that did not stop Sammie Garcia from finding the back of the net in the 63rd minute from a phenomenal corner kick in her season-first goal taking the Tiger to a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers reclaimed possession of the ball from that point with another shot attempt from Pucci in the 69th minute and sophomore Simone Sheridan posted an attempt 10 minutes later.
Texas Southern secured their victory in the 87th minute when Ayana Noel scored her second goal of the season propelling the Tigers to a 2-0 lead making them victorious over Alabama State and guaranteeing them a spot in the semifinals.
“I'm so proud of the players on the field and the ones on the sideline for putting their whole heart on the line today.” Vera concluded.
The Tigers are back in action Friday, Nov. 4 in the semifinals of the SWAC Championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. against jackson State and can be viewed via YouTube on the SWAC Digital Network.
Additionally, Junior Victoria Pucci was a standout for Texas Southern in the SWAC post-season awards. Pucci was named to be part of the All-SWAC Second Team in recognition of her skills throughout the season