Lady Lions fall in SLC Championship semifinals

The Lady Lions fell behind early in their semifinal match against Lamar and could not come back as they lost 3-1 in Lake Charles at the Southland Conference Championships.
The Lady Lions were without their top two scorers in Maiya Cooper and Kayla Vera who both missed the game due to injuries.
Southeastern (12-7-1, 5-2-1) ended its season giving up three goals to the second seed Lamar Cardinals (11-9-1, 6-3-0). The Cardinals jumped to an early lead against the Lady Lions who pushed forward after going behind, but fell short in the end.
“We played with great effort this season, but give credit to Lamar for the match they played tonight,” said head coach Blake Hornbuckle in post-game interviews. “We wish the Cardinals well in the championship match.”
The Lady Lions started their tournament with a 2-0 shutout of tournament hosts McNeese State. This was their fifth straight shutout of an opponent, continuing their strong run of defensive play.
“My teammates deserve a lot of credit,” said senior goalkeeper Lacey Bockhaus in post-game interviews. “We’re excited about this first win, but we came here to win the tournament. We’re focused on Lamar and are looking forward to competing.”
The Lady Lions were in a close contest until the second half, when freshman forward Kayla Vera scored on a penalty kick in the 68th minute. As McNeese State tried to press forward to get an equalizer, senior midfielder Karly Dagys caught them on the counter, scoring in the 90th minute to seal the win.
The run of solid defensive play would end 5 minutes into the semifinal match against Lamar. Sophomore forward Kimmy Albeno opened the scoring with a shot from inside the box that beat Bockhaus. Albeno would double the score 11 minutes later.
Southeastern would get a goal back in the 20th minute. Senior midfielder Kerry McWhirter sent a swerving shot at sophomore goalkeeper Bailey Fontenot that would find its way into the net. McWhirter was selected to the All-Tournament team after her goal and assisting the second goal against McNeese State.
Yet her goal would not be enough. Bockhaus and the Lady Lion defense would face 21 shots, with 10 on goal. Lamar would seal the win in the 72nd minute with a goal by sophomore midfielder Kristin Bos.
The senior group ends their win total at 51, tying the school record. This also means that these eleven women will not be returning next season.
The Lady Lions had eight players who received All Southland honors. Cooper and Bockhaus represented the Lady Lions as first team All-Conference selections and were joined by second team selection junior Kelsey Salcido. Rounding out the honorable mention selections were Dagys, freshman Cheyenne Maxwell, senior Lauren Stillians, junior Shanyce Shaw and Vera.
Despite losing 11 players, Southeastern will have players with experience in the starting lineup next season, including Vera, Salcido, Shaw and sophomore defender Chelsea Villaescusa among others.