Cinderella season comes to an end: Lady Pilots lose 2-1 vs Lady Rams
November 02, 2005
Mobile, AL---If ever a team has been backed against the wall heading into an elimination match, it was the LSUS Lady Pilots Tuesday night. After a 6-1 loss in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament championship at the hands of the 24th ranked University of Mobile Lady Rams, the Lady Pilots needed to regroup and prepare for a rematch as they were up against the same Lady Rams in round one of the Region XIII Tournament just three days later. Despite losing leading scorer Katrina Blackwell due to illness, and an injury to forward Julia Vaughan in the 10th minute of the first half, the Lady Pilots put forth a champion’s effort, but in the end dropped a 2-1 decision to the Lady Rams.
“All year these girls have surprised people with how they played the game and came together as a team. They proved to themselves tonight that they are all winners by playing their hearts out when they easily could have rolled over and called it a good season,” commented Head Coach Jed Jones of his Lady Pilots.
The Lady Pilots were able to slow down the potent Lady Ram offense with a tremendous defensive effort in the first half, and despite being out shot 7-1; the score remained 0-0 at the half. “We put pressure on them the entire half which took away their time and space with ball which was what we failed to do Saturday night,” said Jones.
After being held scoreless in the first half, it only took 3:31 for GCAC Offensive Player of the Year Hege Aske to put the Lady Rams on the board. Aske raced after a bouncing ball that found its way through the LSUS defense and chipped it over Lady Pilot goal keeper Sarah McLean for a 1-0 lead.
Just 1:20 later, the Lady Pilots worked the ball down field and team captain Michelle Williamson found herself one on one in the left corner of the field with defender Stefanie Munger. Williamson made two offensive moves and created space for a shot on goal which found the bottom right corner of the goal to tie the game at 1-1.
The Lady Rams however answered back 1:10 later when Aske beat an LSUS defender deep in the LSUS zone and crossed the ball to Kelli Balteri who belted home what proved to be the game winner.
LSUS threatened in the final 10:00 to tie the game at 2-2, but just could not get the bounce they needed. Calandre Singh raced through the UM defense after a pass from teammate Kristen Schaeffer but UM goalkeeper Ingibjorg Johanessdottir beat Singh to the ball by half a step and cleared the ball to midfield.
LSUS was awarded an indirect kick 7 yards from the goal line with 7:00 remaining. Williamson passed the ball back to Shaderia Evans who blasted a shot on goal that was blocked by the wall of UM defenders. LSUS battled for the loose ball rebound and managed three attempts at the goal, all of which were blocked by the swarm of Lady Rams in the goal crease.
With just 3:00 remaining, the Lady Pilots were awarded a corner kick which was taken by defender Hannah Jennings. Jennings served the ball to the front of the UM net where the entire LSUS team fought for a shot on goal. Once again, the Lady Pilots fired three shots which were denied by UM defenders before the ball was eventually cleared down field which allowed time to run out on the Lady Pilots bid to advance to the Region XIII Tournament semi-finals.
“We are very proud of what we have accomplished. The girls truly left it all on the field which was evident by the ice bags, swollen ankles, and players serving as crutches as they helped their teammates to the bus,” concluded Jones.
The core of the LSUS roster will remain in tact as the program began the season with 10 freshman, five sophomores, and two juniors. Business major and future 2006 graduate Kristin Hardin was the lone Lady Pilot senior. “Kristin was a senior starter who started all 18 games for us. She knew and played her role on this team to the best of her ability, always giving 100%, and the entire team wishes her the best of luck and will miss her tremendously,” said Jones of Hardin.
“From day one coach kept it very simple and step by step, we slowly started to come together and became the closest team I have ever been a part of. I hope the incoming players will enjoy being part of the family we have created here and that we go even further next year,” commented Hardin who hopes to remain with the team through 2006 as an assistant while she concludes her studies at LSUS.
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