The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

Lady Lions lassoed by Cowgirls, fall in SLC tourney

Haley Dupre’
SLU sophomore midfielder Maggie Denison takes on defender during “Pink Out” victory over HCU, 2-1 at Strawberry Stadium. (Oct. 13, 2023 – Hammond)

SLU soccer fell to McNeese on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 1-1 (4-3 on penalties) in Corpus Christi, Texas, during the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament. 

Southeastern (6-10-2, 4-5-1 SLC) entered the contest as the sixth seed, while McNeese (8-7-4, 5-3-2 SLC) was seeded third. The Lady Lions and Cowgirls tussled once during the regular season when the game ironically ended with the same scoreline, 1-1, after 90 minutes at Strawberry Stadium in mid-October. 

This time around in the Lone Star State, with both teams’ seasons on the line, extra time and a penalty shootout were needed to determine a winner due to the knockout format of conference tournaments. 

McNeese struck almost instantly in the fifth minute through the left foot of junior midfielder Kaile Kukaua, shell-shocking a normally stout Southeastern defense. 

Freshman forward Morgan Fiedler delivered a teasing cross from just outside the edge of the box, which was controlled gracefully by Kukaua in front of goal before being dispatched into the far-right corner of the awaiting SLU net. 

The Cowgirls’ early goal was all that separated the two Louisiana foes heading into the halftime locker room. 

The second period of play belonged to the Lady Lions and senior forward Nicole O’Neill. 

The Dublin, Ireland native equalized superbly for Southeastern in the 53rd minute via a cheeky chip shot that floated elegantly into the top-left corner of McNeese’s goal. 

One could argue O’Neill’s attempt was really an intended cross for four-time All-Southland selection Mya Guillory, who was lurking at the back post, but luck of the Irish or not, SLU had knotted the game at 1-1.

Midfielder and fellow senior Kelsey Fuller picked up the assist after laying the ball off to O’Neill who did the rest. 

The score remained tied through 90 minutes of play and the match moved on to extra time. 

Despite chances from both sides, neither team managed to find a winner in the additional two 15-minute periods of action and the cruelty of a penalty shootout commenced. 

SLU received the luxury of going first and converted its ensuing penalty; junior forward Sara Bancevic finessed her strike into the left side of the net. The Serbian made no mistake, as Southeastern grabbed an early advantage. 

McNeese promptly made their initial attempt when senior forward Magalie Depot slotted her shot into the bottom right corner, tying the shoot-out at 1-1. 

The Lady Lions went back ahead on senior midfielder Hannah McCord’s penalty before the Cowgirls drew level once more on Fiedler’s successful conversion. 

Sophomore forward Emma Ramsey stepped up next for SLU and saw her shot saved by a sprawling Jackie Kelly. McNeese’s junior shot-stopper had come up huge for her side.

Junior defender Morgan Schooley then gave the Cowgirls their first lead of the shootout, 3-2. 

Up stepped Guillory to take Southeastern’s all-important following penalty and SLU’s star player made no mistake to tie the contest yet again. 

However, McNeese continued to convert their spot kicks, as senior midfielder Kiana Kukaua made it a perfect 4/4 for the SLC’s No. 3 seed. 

Facing elimination, senior defender and team captain Emma Jones made the long, lonely walk from midfield all the way to 12 yards in front of goal at the penalty spot to take her kick. 

Needing to net in order to keep the Lady Lion’s season alive, Jones failed to convert as she saw her attempt haplessly sail over the crossbar, subsequently ending Southeastern’s 2023 campaign. 

SLU concluded the contest with 19 shots to MSU’s 11, while 11 of the Lady Lion’s shot attempts landed on frame compared to the Cowgirls’ six. 

As a result, McNeese’s Kelly produced an impressive 10 saves. Her counterpart, Southeastern’s junior goalkeeper Olivia Griffin, made five saves.

Corners favored SLU 9-5, and the Lady Lions committed 14 fouls to the Cowgirls 15 (all statistics were from the 120 total minutes of gameplay, which included extra-time).

Despite the heartbreaking disappointment of a penalty shootout defeat, Jones and SLU can hold their heads high knowing they competed till the very end. 

The Green and Gold endured a rocky start to the season but found its footing during an Oct. 8 victory at UIW. 

After beating the Cardinals 1-0 in San Antonio, the Lady Lions topped HCU 2-1 at home, drew McNeese 1-1 in Lake Charles and defeated Nicholls 2-0 on Senior Night at the ‘Berry. 

SLU did lose to Lamar 4-1 in Beaumont, Texas to conclude its regular season on Friday (Oct. 27). However, the Cardinals, who are the defending SLC champions, finished first this year and entered the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Overall, Southeastern only dropped one of its final six contests while winning three of them and drawing two in regulation. 

Head Coach Nathan Gillespie will look to yield more fruitful results in 2024 for his third season at the helm and can perhaps use his team’s performances during the latter stages of 2023 as a platform for building the future. 

For any further coverage/news of SLU soccer, stay tuned to The Lion’s Roar.  

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About the Contributors
Chase Gispert
Chase Gispert, Sports Editor
Chase Gispert is a communication major with a concentration in sports communication. He joined The Lion’s Roar in March of 2021 and now serves as sports editor. Chase is a native of Madisonville. He has a strong passion for sports and is excited about where the future may take him.
Haley Dupre’
Haley Dupre’, Photography Editor
Haley Dupre' is a sports communication major from Donaldsonville. She joined our team in Oct. 2021 as a reporter. In addition to her contributions to Student Publications, Haley actively participates in managing SLU Track and Field's social media channels. With her passion for capturing photos, she aspires to build a career in sports photography.
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    Joey GrazianoNov 4, 2023 at 2:48 am

    Delightful read; very descriptive! enjoyed the “soccer lingo”…