FOLEY, Ala. – The Trojans’ time in the Sun Belt Conference tournament came to a nailbiting end when they faced double overtime after a 2-2 tie followed by penalties against South Alabama Jaguars and ultimately fell short 4-3.
The Little Rock soccer team was ready to give their all during this quarterfinal game. Unfortunately, at minute 15, South Alabama got on the scoreboard first. Seconds later, freshman forward, Mariella Stephens once again shined. After a direct pass from senior midfielder, Morgan Smochavich, Stephens broke through a strong Jaguars defense, positioned the ball, and launched it to the back of the net, making it her third goal of the season.
Just four minutes later, the Jaguars netted another goal, breaking the tie and taking the lead 2-1. Trickling along within the first half, the Trojans were fighting hard to another goal, but so were the Jaguars. South Alabama had three shots on goals that were powerfully saved by Little Rock goalkeeper, Saskia Wagner.
Continuing on to the second half, both teams were on fire. Not many opportunities were set up for the Trojans, but they looked cohesive and the strong team that they are. It wasn’t until three minutes before the end of the game, that Trojans got the chance they were working towards.
A freekick was taken by sophomore defender, Julia Edholm, leading to senior forward, Doro Greulich who headed it towards the center of the box where junior striker, Astros Luckas tapped right past the goalkeeper into the back of the net tying the game 2-2.
After two scoreless overtimes, it was time for penalties. Junior defender, Natalee Geren took the first shot, missing it as it hit the top crossbar. Smocavich, Abril Lucio, and Maddy Peake all successfully scored their penalties. Last up was Luckas that after best efforts, her ball was stopped by the Jaguar goalkeeper. Only one Jaguar player missed her shot but scored four of the shots which allowed them to advance to the semifinals.
Today, the Little Rock soccer team said goodbye to four seniors, Bergros Asgeirsdottir, Doro Greulich, Peyton Laughley, and Morgan Smocovich, who were all part of the team that won the program’s first-ever Sun Belt Championship and gave Little Rock its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2018.
This game proved the strength of the Little Rock soccer team. They are optimistic about next season and what is to come.