Despite championship loss, women’s soccer still makes NCAA tournament

Amanda Gonzalez

Picked as the South Central No. 5 seed, the St. Edward’s University women’s soccer team has reached their seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

No. 5 St. Edward’s will play No. 4 Fort Lewis College in the preliminary round at No. 1 Angelo State University’s home field on Friday at 8 p.m.

In the past couple years, St. Edward’s has had very impressive records and did not have to leave their playoff fate in the hands of the Division II Selection Committee.

However, with this year’s 13-5-0 record, St. Edward’s nervously anticipated the official announcements. Fort Lewis is 12-5-3.

“We were fortunate enough that the other results in the other conferences kind of went in our favor,” Head Coach Nick Cowell said. “It’s very nerve wracking, because you never know what the NCAA Committee is going to do, especially when your last game is a loss, which can really drop you in the rankings.”

Recently, the St. Edward’s women’s soccer team was named the Heartland Conference Champion Runner-ups after a tough 2-1 overtime loss to Dallas Baptist University.

Dallas and St. Edward’s wasted no time trying to take early shots. St. Edward’s goalkeeper Lorrie Santoy and Dallas goalkeeper Jenna Ackerly both did a good job of blocking several goal attempts.

Additionally, both teams’ defense worked aggressively to help their respective goalies by stealing the soccer ball or kicking the ball out of bounds.

In the 40th minute, St. Edward’s junior defender Jennifer Boudreau made her way past the opposing midfielders for an unassisted goal, making the score 1-0.

In the second half, the Dallas offense tried their best to score in both the 68th and 69th minutes. For the Hilltoppers, sophomore midfielder Whytneigh Duffie and senior defender Katie Donahue tried scoring, but Ackerly made both saves.

Boudreau had possession of the ball again with very few defenders around her. In scoring position, she widely kicked the ball to the right of the net in the 72nd minute.

Soon after, Dallas had a corner kick and knocked down the St. Edward’s goalkeeper as she was reaching for the ball. No foul or card was issued, and Dallas finished the play with a score in the 76th minute to tie the game 1-1.

With 14 minutes left in regulation, both teams unsuccessfully tried to score again.

Three minutes into sudden death overtime, Dallas senior forward Ashley Cox scored to win the game 2-1.

After the game, conference coaches selected the following Hilltoppers to the All-Tournament Team: junior midfielder Julia Harrison, Boudreau and Donahue, who was also named the Heartland Conference Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

“It’s always a tough game [against Dallas Baptist]. We know going into it that we are going to have to play our best,” Donahue said. “This year we’ve lost three times to them. I think [this] game was the best we’ve played against them. We came out strong, but just didn’t get the results … Hopefully we’ll see them again in the [NCAA] Tournament.”

Since St. Edward’s and Fort Lewis are in different conferences, they have not played each other in the past two years. Conference rules do not allow outer-conference information exchange, so both teams are going into the game without film or scouting reports.