A 24th-minute goal from Jade Bell was all the Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions needed to win in harsh conditions against the Mustangs of Midwestern State University on Friday, Oct. 18. The win marks the Lions' first victory in Wichita Falls since 2003, and also snapped a six game losing streak overall in the series.
Bell's header was her fourth goal of the season. Callie Ballard did her part in goal, stopping all 12 shots that came on goal from the Mustangs. The 12 saves are a new season and career high for Ballard and the shutout was her fifth of the season. Savannah Henderson provided the assist on the Bell goal for her team- and conference-leading sixth assist on the season.
Just two minutes after the Lions goal, Midwestern came down and got a shot away but Ballard turned it away. Henderson and Samantha Huston had opportunities in the 29th and 33rd minutes but were turn away by Kallie Essary in the Mustang goal. Anna Molen tried to tie the score for Midwestern just before the half but could not beat Ballard.
Vicky Back and Henderson had chances to make the lead two but could not due to tough conditions in the early minutes of the second half.
The Mustangs were firing shots the entire second half trying to beat Ballard. Emily Saville had a chance blocked by the Lions off a corner kick in the 55th minute. That was followed up with two more shots from the Mustangs. The first was saved by Ballard and other went wide.
The Lions survived two corners and Ballard made four big saves in the final 15 minutes to preserve the shutout.
"We played really hard and Callie [Ballard] came up with some tough saves", said Head Coach Neil Piper.
The Lions didn't fare as well in the second game of the weekend, losing to the Angelo State University Rambelles 2-1 on Sunday, Oct. 20.
A Maggie Schaffer penalty kick in the 71st minute was the game winner for Angelo State in a 2-1 win over the Lions. The win extends Angelo State's lead in front of second place Midwestern State. The Lions are three points behind Midwestern State in third place.
Angelo State dominated the shots, holding a 16-7 advantage and a 12-4 shots on goal edge.
Sierra Anderson got the Rambelles on the board in the third minute for her seventh goal of the season. The assist came on a cross from Jenny Kotowych.
Both teams had chances to break the tie but were unable in the final 30 minutes of the half. Callie Ballard made three stops to keep the score tied going into the break.
A&M-Commerce was able to some quality chances in the opening minutes of the second half but could not beat Danielle Edwards in the Rambelle goal.
The Rambelles were awarded a penalty kick after the Lions committed a foul in the box while trying to defend a cross. Schaffer then stepped up to the spot and beat Ballard with the penalty kick in the 71st minute.
The Lions had chances after the Rambelle goal but a shot by Callie Annet went wide and Edwards stopped shots by Brionna Minde and Henderson.
A&M-Commerce is now three points out of second and three points ahead of fourth place in the Lone Star Conference standings. The Lions return to action on Wednesday to face the Tigers of Ouachita Baptist University. The Lions have just four games left on their schedule before the Lone Star Conference Championship starts on Nov. 8-10.