Ladyjacks Fall Short Against Duke
Nov. 14, 2003
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack soccer team put up a strong fight against the 12th-seeed Duke Blue Devils Friday in the first round of the NCAA Soccer Championships, but fell short in their upset bid. Duke defeated SFA, 3-0.
"I'm happy with our team, as I have been all season," said SFA head coach Nicole Nelson. "This was our program's first NCAA tournament appearance and we came out and played tough against a very good Duke team. We just didn't have the depth that we needed tonight. We've had some kids battling illness but we played with a lot of heart. We came out and played at their level and that is a faster speed than what we have been playing in our conference games. I'm very proud of our team's effort tonight. We got a taste of the NCAA tournament this year and I think our program has a bright future."
The first half shaped up as a defensive struggle as neither team got many solid looks at the net. Duke outshot SFA, 13-5, in the first half but the majority of the Blue Devils shots came towards the latter part of the half.
The Ladyjacks were went on the offensive early in the contest as junior Christie Mestayer got clear of the Duke defense but her shot was saved by Duke's Thora Hagadottir. The Ladyjacks were back on the offensive a few minutes later when junior Sophia Pantazis got the ball down the center of the field but Hagadottier was their for her second save of the evening. Hagadottir finished the game with four saves.
The Blue Devils attempted 13 shots in the first half but sophomore goalkeeper Natascia Michalezki had an outstanding night coming up with huge saves on the Blue Devils' attackers. The game was scoreless heading into the 42nd minute of action when Duke's Casey McCluskey rifled a shot at the net, which just got through Michalezki's hands. Duke went into the intermission up, 2-0, as Sarah McCabe netted the team's second goal just 96 seconds later.
"I didn't have to say much to the team at halftime," said Nelson. "I think the team was happy heading into halftime with the way we had played. We just didn't support the attack as well as I would have liked. We made a few adjustments tactically and I reminded them of what they had done right in the first half. The girls came out and played another good 45 minutes of soccer in the second half."
Duke added one more goal in the 79th minute of action as they advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Michalezki finished the night with nine saves in 90 minutes of action.
The Ladyjacks finish the season with a 15-5-2 record, setting a new school record for wins in a season.