LAKE CHARLES, La. -- The Bearkats drew first blood but weren’t able to hold on as Stephen F. Austin rallied for a 2-1 win in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament.
The loss ends the season for the young Bearkat team. Tricia Mallory was the only senior on the team which will leave the Kats with 10 returning starters.
SFA advances to play Southeastern Louisiana in the Tournament final Sunday afternoon.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the result. I thought Stephen F did a great job of putting us under pressure,” said head coach Tom Brown. “We had difficulty holding the ball, especially after the first 15 minutes. We asked the team to go out there and compete today and I thought they really did that but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough.”
Ashley Fluty opened the scoring in the eighth minute after a free kick had been cleared back to her nearly 40 yards from goal. The junior defender hit the ball on the volley and it looped over the SFA goalkeeper and into the net.
The goal was Fluty’s first of the season. She also provided the assist on the lone goal from Thursday’s tournament win over Nicholls.
SFA was able to level the match with just a few minutes left in the first half. Sophomore Rachel Owens attempted a cross into the box but it sailed towards the net and SHSU goalkeeper Kylie Hambleton was able to get her hands to it but couldn’t keep it out.
Lumberjack forward Chelsea Raymond netted the winner late in the second half. Raymond shot from outside of the box and it sailed over Hambleton. The game-winning goal was her league-leading eighth.
Sam Houston State couldn’t get much of the ball in the remaining 12 minutes after the goal and didn’t have many chances at getting an equalizer. Sophomore Katie Ferrara had the Kats best chance late in the game but her header didn’t have enough on it to trouble to SFA goalkeeper.
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