The Taylor women's soccer team (12-4-2) tied Mount Vernon Nazarene University (10-5-3) but was not able to advance in the tournament as they lost 2-4 in penalty kicks on Nov. 2. They are now eliminated from the Crossroads League Tournament.
While the Trojans may still receive an at-large bid to the national tournament, their season could very well be over.
If they find a way into the national tournament, they would be the first Taylor women’s soccer team to make it.
The Trojans dominated the ball throughout the game, taking 24 shots compared to Mount Vernon’s seven. The Trojan’s defense stifled the opposition and for the last 42 minutes of regulation didn’t allow a single shot on goal.
“The first half was close and both teams were looking dangerous,” Head Coach Scott Stan said. “But in the second half we outshot them 12 to 3, their goalie just had some big saves.”
After two overtimes the game would still be at 0-0 with Taylor dominating time of possession 55% to 45%, shots on goal and only committed 8 fouls throughout the two hour and 40 minute game.
After the second overtime resulted in a continued stalemate, Mount Vernon won the game in a shootout.
“We did what we practiced to do,” junior Megan Williams said. “We just couldn’t finish.”
Mount Vernon scored the first penalty kick, as sophomore Linli Tu had her attempt stopped by senior goalkeeper Anna Chrysler from Mount Vernon. The Cougars scored their next two as did Taylor off of sophomore Erin Teevans and junior Morgan Orme.
In the next frame both teams got a stop leaving it at 3-2 in favor of Mount Vernon. When Sarah Townsend of Mount Vernon scored off of the final position it became impossible for Taylor to come back, giving the win to Mount Vernon.
Tu lead the team with six shots on goal from the defensive mid position, outplaying the opposition. However, she was unable to capitalize on the opportunities. Teevans also had four shots on goal, consistently applying pressure onto Mount Vernon’s defense.
Chrysler recorded an impressive 12 total saves on goal preventing the Trojans from capitalizing on any of their shot opportunities. Taylor’s goalkeeper junior Megan Williams had a crucial save from a one-on-one against junior Paige Renz of Mount Vernon 21 minutes into the game.
“We’re really hoping it’s not the last game that we play this year,” Stan said.
While Taylor was eliminated from the Crossroads League Tournament, they will still be practicing for the next two weeks to prepare for the possibility of a nationals bid. Without an opponent to prepare for the team is currently working on their conditioning and recovering from injuries.
The NAIA recently expanded the national tournament to 48 teams. Each conference within the NAIA receives an automatic bid for the winner of the conference’s postseason tournament. The rest of the spots go to teams who did not win their conference tournament but are deemed worthy of a spot in the field.
The Trojans are hoping they are one of the select teams chosen to fill out the field. The NAIA National Tournament starts Friday, Nov. 22.