Ladyjacks Edge Lions, 2-1
Nov. 2, 2007
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks got some help from opponent Southeastern Louisiana Friday night to keep their Southland Conference championship hopes alive. Now, they just need a little more help from McNeese State and Texas-San Antonio to win the program's fifth undisputed title.
The Lady Lions scored an own goal with 40 seconds left in the second overtime of their game against SFA Friday to give the Ladyjacks a 2-1 victory. The win kept SFA (10-4-2, 6-1-1 SLC) in a three-team tie for first place with McNeese State and Texas-San Antonio -- both of whom were winners in their respective games Friday night.
Friday night, McNeese State took a 3-0 win at Texas State, while UTSA knocked off Lamar, 2-0. The Cowgirls and Roadrunners square off with each other Sunday in San Antonio. An SFA win over Nicholls State Sunday would guarantee the Ladyjacks at least a share of the SLC title -- SFA's fifth overall and third in the last four seasons. An SFA win coupled with a tie in the game between the other two frontrunners would leave the Ladyjacks alone at the top of the podium and in the driver's seat at the SLC Tournament with the No. 1 seed.
The Ladyjacks got on the board first in Friday's game, when leading scorer Erika Palmacci banged home a rebound off a shot by sophomore Megan Cash. The goal was Palmacci's ninth of the season and put SFA ahead, 1-0, with 27:07 left to play.
The Lions (9-5-3, 4-3-1) struck back quickly. Barely a minute later, Southeastern evened the score when Shalayne Heffner found Candice Wallace in the goal box with a nice service from 35 yards out. Wallace settled the ball near the top right corner of the box and blasted a high shot to the right of SFA goalkeeper Crystin Pactor.
The shot was one of just two for the Lions in the first half and one of only four shots on goal in the game for Southeastern. SFA fired 23 shots at the Lion net with 13 landing on goal, but couldn't squeeze one past 'keeper Holly Moran, who finished with nine saves.
Southeastern's own goal in the closing ticks of the second overtime period brought an end to nearly 91 minutes of scoreless soccer. The goal came following a foul on the Lions that drew a yellow card and broke up a Ladyjack run. Defender Jenna Turner lined up the kick and lobbed it into the box. A Lions defender tried to clear the ball on one bounce, but misfired and the ball trickled in for the winning score.
For the game, SFA outshot Southeastern, 23-14. The Ladyjacks forced seven corner kicks while allowing just one to the Lions. Aggressive play by both teams resulted in 30 combined fouls and two cautions to each team.
Pactor finished the game with three saves in 120 minutes of action.
Friday's game marked the fourth time this season the Ladyjacks have gone to double-overtime. SFA is unbeaten in extra time with a 3-0-2 record in overtime games this season.
In addition to keeping the Ladyjacks' title hopes alive, the win moved head coach Jaime Frias into a tie with his predecessor, Nicole Nelson, for the most coaching victories in program history. Nelson finished her SFA coaching career with a 33-19-9 record in three seasons at the helm. Frias' record stands at 33-16-3 with one regular-season game remaining in his third season as head coach.
Sunday's season finale offers the chance for Frias to move into sole possession of the coaching wins record and will also mark the end of senior Keyli Townsend's SFA career. Townsend, the lone senior on this year's squad, will be honored in a brief ceremony prior to the 2 p.m. start against the Colonels.
-- SFA --