An impressive offensive performance by TWU tested top-seeded Dallas Baptist Friday in the Lone Star Conference Women’s Soccer Championship Tournament semifinal but the undefeated Patriots defended their home turf with a 2-0 decision over the Pioneers.
“I am very proud of our overall performance,” coach Babak Abouzar said. “We know we played really well. The effort was there. Our passing, our footwork, it was all there. I think besides the two opportunities that DBU capitalized on, we played one of our best games of the season.”
TWU (15-5-0), the fourth seed in the tournament, held possession the majority of the game and outshot DBU 13-5 with eight shots on goal to the Patriots’ five. TWU looked to score at any moment as they consistently built attacks left to right and down the middle trying to crack the DBU back line.
“This is the best I’ve seen from our offensive attack,” Abouzar said. “We just couldn’t finish in the offensive third.”
With the Pioneers pressuring, it was a counter attack that gave the Patriots their first goal. The strike came when Kaci Parks sent in a long lob behind the TWU defense that paced a speedy Abigail Olmos who won the one-on-one battle with senior goalkeeper Daniela Marin at 9:18.
“It was unfortunate but DBU took advantage and played a through ball that our back line was not able to handle which left Dani defending one v one,” Abouzar said.
Sophomore Abigail Martinez had an excellent look for TWU less than 10 minutes later when she received a pass in the center of the box and rocketed it just high over the cross bar. Martinez again tried to facilitate a goal a couple of minutes later when she set up sophomore Kaylee Rekieta whose header went off target to the left of the goal.
Marin, who was strong tonight coming off the line, rebuffed the Patriot attack when she made a huge save on a one-on-one with Parks just before the intermission.
Maintaining 52% of the possession in the first half, TWU outshot DBU 8-3, and 4-3 in shots on goal.
“At halftime, we talked about how we were playing well, and we just needed to make sure we communicated more, and I challenged the forwards to really dribble at their defenders,” Abouzar said.
TWU’s energy did not wane as the second half began and they threatened to find the equalizer numerous times. Senior Hannah Schneider nearly broke the stalemate when she placed a shot to the far post trying to catch LSC Goalkeeper of the Year Hope Koym going in the wrong direction. Koym managed the save after stopping the shot and then gathering the ball after it squirted out of her grasp before it could roll over the line.
In the 82nd minute, DBU (16-0-2) got the insurance goal when the ball came to the foot of Olmos in the middle of the box and she slotted her shot into the low left corner of the net just out of reach for an outstretched Marin.
“We were doing a great job of winning 50-50 balls,” Abouzar explained. “But on that goal kick we didn’t do a good job of winning the first and second ball, and they capitalized on it.”
The loss ends TWU’s three-game winning streak and eliminates them from the conference tournament. The Pioneers, who are currently ranked fourth in the NCAA South Central Region, will have to wait until Monday evening to learn if they will earn their first-ever bid to the regional tournament. The top six teams make the tournament. The NCAA selection show is on ncaa.com at 5 p.m.
“We need to get rest and recover, and make sure we’re healthy as we wait to hear about the regional tournament,” Abouzar added.