Lions soccer team falls in first round at NCAA tourney
A&M-Commerce tried to play beat the buzzer but was just a little late with its last ditch effort to tie St. Edward's at one and force overtime. St. Edward's' postseason continues as they advance to play host, Fort Lewis College, on Sunday and put their unbeaten season on the line with the 1-0 win.
Megan Anderson of St. Edward's was called for a foul on the right side of the midfield circle to set up Vicky Back for a free kick with every Lion on the field forward to try and score. Back's kick then hit a Hilltopper defender on its way out of bounds to the give the Lions a corner kick with two seconds on the clock. Brionna Minde played the ball and it fell inside the six-yard-box but the Lions were unable to get the ball over the line before the clock hit triple-zeroes.
In the first half, Savannah Henderson tried to get the Lions on the board early but her shot went wide left in the fifth minute of action. Eight minutes later Henderson got another shot away from this time pushed it right.
Catie Hyde had the best chance for the Lions when her shot was blocked after a corner kick from Samantha Huston in the 28th minute. None of the Lions four shots tested Danielle Licarione, in the Hilltopper goal, during the first 45 minutes.
The final fifteen minutes of the first half belonged to the Hilltoppers. St. Edward's was putting pressure on the Lion backline and forcing rushed clears. Katie Donahue tried to give St. Ed's the leads but her shot was blocked in the 33rd minute.
Ally Linquist had a shot saved by Callie Ballard in 40th minute off a corner kick. Ballard was unable to control the rebound but her defense bailed her out when they blocked the shot of Ari Garcia to keep the game scoreless.
With one minute to play in the first half the Hilltoppers had one more chance but Ballard was there again with the save. This time stopping the shot of Garcia, through a crowd, after an initial shot from Linquist was blocked by the Lion defense.
The Lions earned three corners in the first three minutes but were unable to convert those into shots on goal.
St. Edward's got on the board thanks to a goal from Garcia in the 55th minute after she received a pass from Lauren Heller. Garcia received the pass from Heller as she came down the middle of the field after St. Ed's played a cross from the right that found Heller. The goal was Garcia's second of the season.
Julia Hernandez tried to tie the game for the Lions but her shot was wide left in the 61st minute of play.
The Lions were able to get some pressure after that but were unable to convert that into chances on net to force Danielle Licarione to make a save in goal for St. Edward's.
Ballard needed to make one last save to keep the Lions within one, in the 89th minute when Cailyn Trapani put one on frame.
The Lions then earned the free kick after a yellow card was given to Anderson of St. Edward's at midfield in the final ten seconds. Back's kick was deflected out of bounds by St. Ed's and the Lions got a corner kick but were unable to get the tying goal before time expired.
The loss brings the 2013 season to an end for A&M-Commerce. The Lions finish with an 11-6-2 record overall. The 11 wins are the most for the Lions since 2008 and the NCAA Tournament appearance is also the first since 2008.