CORPUS CHRISTI – Stephen F. Austin scored two early goals and rode the momentum to a 5-0 win over the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's soccer team on Friday at the Dr. Jack A. Dugan Soccer & Track Stadium.
SFA has clinched a share of the Southland Conference title with the win, as it improved to 10-1 in the league with the victory. The Ladyjacks can garner the outright title with either an Oral Roberts loss tonight or by way of a victory at Incarnate Word on Sunday.
"I thought we battled really hard, especially in the midfield, but we had a couple of unfortunate turnovers and our back line uncharacteristically didn't keep its shape," head coach Shanna Caldwell said. "When we are playing a team as talented and well-coached as SFA we can't make those kind of mistakes and win.
"We got a great effort from some of the people off our bench – in particular Kennah [Leal], Becca [Chance], Hannah [Joseph] and Naomi [Morales], and I was proud of what they gave us. And [Audrey] Baldwin was as solid as she always is – both in net and up top. I think we are going to put this game behind us on Sunday and send her out the way a senior leader should end her career."
Baldwin made four saves in the loss, while Morales came off the bench in the second half and made the first two saves of her career. Lacey Lee and Morgan Glick shared the shutout for SFA, with Glick earning the win and Lee making two saves.
The Islanders (2-15-0, 1-10-0) stemmed the tide of some early SFA pressure, with Baldwin turning aside a pair of Chelsea Raymond opportunities, but the Ladyjacks' leading scorer struck with her ninth goal of the season in the ninth minute. Zuri Prince sent a long throw in down the right side to a sprinting Raymond, and the junior beat Baldwin for a 1-0 lead at 8:45.
Less than four minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead. Prince started the play, sending a header off the crossbar. The rebound came out to the top of the box, and Brenda Salazar jumped on it, lofting a shot over the prone and outstretched Baldwin and into the back of the net to put the Ladyjacks up 2-0 at 12:32.
The Islanders settled in at that point, evening play over the next 30 minutes. But Stephen F. Austin was able to add a third tally just before halftime. Amanda Doyle sent a nice through ball up the middle to a sprinting Amanda Fox. Fox came in on Baldwin and sent a shot low to the left for a 3-0 lead at 43:33.
SFA added two more goals in the second half, with Dallas Brown converting off a set piece in the 60th and Rachel Owens scoring in the 74th to result in the final score. Brown finished off a play that was served by Melissa Gaudet and deflected by Megan Wasiak to Brown, who put it in from point-blank range. Owens' score was lofted high above the outstretched arm of Morales on a shot from 30 yards.
The Islanders will return to Dugan Stadium on Sunday for Audrey Baldwin Day, as the team celebrates the final game for its lone senior. Baldwin will be recognized prior to the game, which kicks off at 1 p.m.
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