SFA Wins SLC Tournament Championship 2-1 Over Lamar
Nov. 4, 2012Photo Gallery
LAKE CHARLES, La. - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks soccer team won the Southland Conference Tournament Championship for the third time in school history with a 2-1 victory over the Lamar Lady Cardinals Sunday afternoon on a rain-soaked Cowgirl Field.
SFA (17-3-0) advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 and the first time in the Tony Amato era. Sophomore forward Zuri Prince (1 goal, 2 assists) was named the SLC Tournament MVP while Kylie Louw, Chelsea Raymond, Laura Sadler, Melissa Gaudet and Lacey Lee also were named the all-tournament team.
"I couldn't be happier for this team," Amato said. "This is the most rewarding victory of my career. The progression these seniors have shown over the past four years, I'm so happy for them. To see them get the ultimate goal, they deserved this moment so much. It will be interesting to see now moving forward to see where we get to play. I think tables might be turned a little bit because over the past 10 games or so we've been the favorite and will now likely be the underdog. But that's a spot will gladly embrace."
SFA struck quickly for a second straight game, scoring in the 5th minute on Raymond's 13th goal of the season on an assist from Prince. The play was setup by a long lead pass from Louw, who then led Prince to setup Raymond.
Later in the 25th minute, Prince scored her seventh goal of the season on an assist from Gaudet to give the Ladyjacks a 2-0 cushion.
In the second half Lamar made it a contest with a goal from Kimmy Albeno in the 35th minute, placing the ball perfectly in the corner of the net past SFA goalkeeper Lacey Lee to make it a 2-1 Ladyjacks lead. Eight minutes later the Lady Cardinals had a chance to tie the game but Jannet Hernandez was denied by Lee on a shot in front of the net on a spectacular diving stop from the junior all-conference first-teamer.
The Ladyjacks' defense was able to hold on from that point on and celebrate as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Louw, who is a part of a senior class of six, relished in the moment afterwards after coming up one goal short of the same dream last season.
"This is so awesome for the entire team," Louw said. "We've worked so hard and to accomplish one of our goals is gratifying. I was so anxious during that final minute. This really turned into a kick and run type-game and we handled it great, even after they scored. We're not done now. Our third goal from the beginning of the season was to advance in the NCAA Tournament and now we have a shot to do just that."
SFA will now wait to see who they will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with the NCAA Selection Show airing tomorrow, Nov. 5 at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on NCAA.com. The Ladyjacks will watch the show as a group on in the Champions Room of the SFA field house.