Lions set to battle St. Edward's in NCAA first round

Nov 15, 2013

Texas A&M University-Commerce was able to earn the final at-large berth in the NCAA South-Central Regional with their 11-5-2 overall record despite falling in the Semifinals of the Lone Star Conference  tournament to Midwestern State on penalty kicks. Their reward is facing St. Edward's, who earned the three seed after winning the Heartland Conference and are winners of 14 straight. The winner advances to play Fort Lewis in the second round on Sunday. 

The Lions hold a 6-4-1 lead in the all-time series between the two teams. However, the Lions have dropped the last two meetings (2009 and 2011) to the Hilltoppers while being shutout in both games.

St. Edward's enters with no losses in their 18 games this season. The last team that the Hilltoppers did not beat was West Texas A&M on Sep. 20, with the game ending in a scoreless tie. The Hilltoppers also possess a +53 goal differential (58-5) on the season. Those goals come via a balanced attack for St. Edward's. Lauren Heller leads the team with 10 goals, Megan Anderson is right behind her with nine and Rachel Murray and Cailyn Trapani have each scored seven on the season. Seven different Hilltoppers have recorded at least 10 points so far in 2013. Danielle Licarione has started all but one game for St. Edward's this season in goal and has split time with Lorrie Santoy. Santoy has appeared in 16 contests this season. Licarione sports a 0.10 GAA in the 921 minutes she has logged.

The Lions made their presence known on the All-LSC Teams with Vicky BackSavannah Henderson and Callie Annett earning First Team honors and Brionna Minde earning Second Team honors. Henderson was honored with Freshman of the Year after the leading the LSC in multiple offensive categories. A&M-Commerce placed four players on the LSC All-Academic Team; Minde, Callie AnnettCadie Annett and Laura Heron. Minde repeated as Academic Player of the Year in her senior season.

This will be the first post season trip and game for everyone currently on the Lions roster. The Lions last made the NCAA Tournament back in 2008.

Senior forward Brionna Minde needs one more point to tie Stacy Carr for 10th on the career points list for the Lions. Minde also needs just one more goal to tie for 10th on that all-time list with Trudy Warborg.

Freshmen goalkeeper Callie Ballard has another shot to record her ninth shutout of the season. If Ballard does get the clean sheet it would tie her for third on the all-time single season list with Randi Hafele. The shutout would also be just the second time this season that St. Edward's would be held off the scoreboard.