Lady Hornets now vie for SWAC soccer title

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (  – The Alabama State women’s soccer team dug deep and rallied back for a 2-1 victory against Texas Southern in a SWAC semifinal at Prairie View A&M’s new soccer facility on Friday to advance to their third SWAC championship appearance in the past four seasons.

The Lady Hornets (10-9-1) ran their unbeaten streak to nine consecutive matches (8-0-1 during this span) and will take on Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who upset top-seeded Howard in penalty kicks (0-0, 3-1 PKs) earlier in the day in the other semifinal.

Howard had entered undefeated in conference play this season and winners of the two previous SWAC championships.

Now, a new champion is guaranteed for Sunday’s SWAC Championship match at 11 a.m. in Prairie View.

Trailing 1-0, Alabama State showed a never-say-die attitude as it knotted the score at 1-1 when defender Mercedes Padilla scored on an assist from Ariela Lewis in the 73rd minute.

Ar. Lewis was involved in the winning score as well as she assisted on the Larissa’s White deciding goal in the 80th minute.

“I’m really proud of how we responded to the adversity,” said ASU head coach Jodie Smith.

“We were down at the half, but we just kept playing.  The first goal was another off a set piece, corner kick that Mercedes [Padilla] was able to get on the end of and it was nice to execute again.”

That set the stage for one of the biggest goals of the season and of White’s career.

“Just a short time later, we continued to put pressure on them and Ariela [Lewis] took a great shot that the goalkeeper could not handle and Larissa [White] was able to tap it in,” Smith said.

ASU goalkeeper Gianna Guyot (10-6-1) made five saves and lowered her goals against average to 1.64.

ASU has now reached the championship in 2016, 2015 and 2013.

Alabama State will be seeking its’ first SWAC championship and automatic berth to play in the NCAA Tournament.

UAPB has won the title twice with the last time coming in 2011.

“We will definitely use the off day to rest up, get treatment and be ready for a good UAPB team in the championship.  We are living by the saying, ‘Survive and advance.’”