In a span of less than three minutes, junior Lexi D’Abrosca scored twice to give TWU a 2-0 lead, which held for the victory over West Texas A&M Tuesday in the quarterfinal of the Lone Star Conference Championship Tournament.
Both goals resulted from corner kicks with the first strike coming at 58:55 when D’Abrosca headed the ball into the net off junior Jasmine Navarro’s cross. After going up 1-0, the Pioneers kept applying pressure and earned another corner kick. This time the ball was cleared out of the box and came to freshman Ava Schulte who sent it back into the box. With her back to the goal, D’Abrosca chested the ball, turned and with a left-footed volley, sailed the ball over the keeper’s head at 61:33.
“What she did is typical Lex,” coach Babak Abouzar said. “Her ability to challenge for balls in the air is one of the best in the conference. And her second goal was amazing. The magnitude of difficulty on her second goal was incredible.”
The first half saw the Lady Buffs come out quickly with two shots on goal in the opening minutes, with senior goalkeeper Daniela Marin spot on with the saves. WTU (10-8) outshot TWU 7-5 in the first half, and TWU looked like they were playing on their heels.
In the 32nd minute, junior Haley Ward, TWU’s second-leading scorer, returned to the field after being out with an injury for the past nine games, and immediately got a shot off. Ward was a spark to the Pioneers’ attack but they could not mount any significant challenges on goal.
“At halftime we really talked about how we were playing panicked and we needed our midfield and our forwards to move a little more so that we could find them,” Abouzar explained. “You could see that change in the second half and that made a big difference for us to be able to create more opportunities that led to our goals.”
The TWU defense was solid as they kept denying any chances WTU tried to put together. Anchored by Marin and senior Brittany Jones, TWU earned its 10th shutout and its 15th win of the season.
“Brittany’s leadership has been key,” Abouzar said. “She’s basically a coach on the field. When we were talking as a team at halftime, I looked at her and said we need more communication. You could hear her in that second half. We needed that because West Texas attacking threat is so lethal and quick, and she and the rest of the back line did a great job of shutting down any chances that WTU was able to create.”
The win puts TWU (15-4) in the semifinals against top-seeded Dallas Baptist (15-0-2) Friday at 5 p.m.