CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's soccer team ventures into uncharted territory on Thursday, as the team prepares for its first postseason game in program history. On Thursday, the No. 5 seed Islanders will face Southeastern Louisiana in the quarterfinals of the Southland Conference Tournament, hosted by Central Arkansas.
The Islanders have been on a roll as of late, winning five on their previous seven matches to make the 2015 season the most successful in team history.
"We've always had the capability to perform well. It just took a change within the team to have everything start clicking," head coach Shanna Caldwell said before the team began its 12-hour trek to Conway. "Nothing has changed from our approach or how we've been practicing, but it just took the players taking a stand to achieve their goals.
"Looking forward, going into the conference tournament, it's a clean slate for everybody in the postseason. We're looking forward to our matchup with SLU. We had a great game earlier this season, but that means nothing right now. Everyone is fresh for this new season.
"This is a new experience for everyone, but we are going to stay focused and keep the businesslike mentality, while enjoying this at the same time."
NOTING THE ISLANDERS
- Goalkeeper Megan Delaney posted 11 saves in the match against Houston Baptist last weekend. It was the fourth time this season that the Las Vegas native reached double digits in saves for a game and snapped a nine-game streak of under 10 saves.
- A&M-Corpus Christi averaged 9.8 shots per match through the regular season, to set a new program record. Hailey Sutton leads the team with 17 shots on goal and is tied with Jessica Berdan for the lead in scoring with three.
- Aside from the Sugar Bears, the Islanders will be one of two teams who already have a win at the Bill Stephens Soccer Complex. Kristin Kelley scored in the 89th minute in a come-from-behind victory for A&M-Corpus Christi. Houston Baptist is the other team with a victory in Conway this season, beating UCA 2-1 on Oct. 16.
THURSDAY VS. SOUTHEASTERN LA.
The No. 4 seed Lady Lions finished the regular season with an 11-4-3 mark and a 6-3-2 record in conference play. SLU was second in the conference in goals scored and points for the regular season, while surrendering a Southland-best .91 goals per game.
Gisenia Utreras sits second in the conference and leads the team with 29 points from 11 goals and seven assists. Hope Sabadash posted a .815 saves percentage during the regular season and recorded eight shouts to lead the conference.
GOING BACK FOR SECONDS
The Lady Lions traveled to the Coastal Bend for a matchup with the Islanders back on Oct. 4. After Utreras put Southeastern Louisiana ahead in the 50th minute from the penalty spot, Sutton leveled the match five minutes later with a spectacular curling effort from 25 yards.
Tatum Printy collected her first collegiate goal in the 76th minute. The Las Vegas native broke free from her marker on a Meghan Cordero corner to head home the game winner that lifted the Islanders to their first win of the season and start a streak that produced five wins out of the next six matches.
Below is the 2015 Southland Conference Soccer Tournament bracket. Quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be streamed live on the Southland Digital Network. The championship game will be aired on ESPN 3.
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