From Arkansas State University
Loren Mitchell's headers in the 86th minute propelled Arkansas State to a 2-1 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament hosted by Texas State.
The win moves the A-State soccer into the semifinals for the second time in school history and gave the program its first official victory in the conference tournament. The Red Wolves advanced via a shootout over Western Kentucky in 2009 for its only other semifinal appearance.
"History has been made by these super girls," A-State head coach Tafadzwa Ziyenge said. "I am honored to be their leader."
Mitchell scored after the Red Wolves created confusion in front of the Ragin' Cajuns goal. Jordan Adams sent in a corner kick and Samhia Simao got a head on it, but Kendall Graham was unable to securely handle the shot and the ball deflected in the air and Mitchell put a head on it and scored the game-winner.
Louisiana-Lafayette appeared to have scored the equalizer as time expired, but officials that the ball crossed the line after time expired to give A-State the win.
A-State jumped out in front in the 19th minute when Madison Joyce scored on a deflected shot off the goalie to go up 1-0. It was Joyce's third goal of the season and her first since Sept. 20.
After the goal, however, the Ragin' Cajuns controlled much of the pace and outshot the Red Wolves 9-6 in the first half. The pace continued into the second half and paid when ULL scored the equalizer on a penalty kick in the 61st minute.
A-State was called for a handball inside the six-yard box, which resulted in a penalty kick, and Yazmin Montoya did not squander the opportunity as she put the shot past Beth Kremer to tie the match 1-1.
"It was a tough game, but we were equal to the task," Ziyenge said. "It was a great day for A-State soccer."
The penalty kick goal would be Kremer's only mistake of the afternoon, though as the junior stopped six shots in her first win of the season. Kremer started for Amanda Lee who was forced to sit out due to a red card she received in the Red Wolves' regular season finale against Texas State.
Mitchell's goal gave her 12 for the season and the sophomore from Lawrenceville, Ga., is now tied for the most goals by an A-State soccer player in a single season in school history. It was also her fifth game-winning goal of the season and the sixth of her career, which is tied for the most in school history.
Simao led the team with six shots and four shots on goal while Mitchell added four shots and three shots on goal. Joyce added two shots, both of which landed on goal. Jordan Adams and Katey Carmichael each added a goal.