For the third-straight season the East Central University soccer team has advanced to the Great American Conference tournament. This year the Lady Tigers are the No. 4 seed and will face No. 1 Southwestern Oklahoma State, Friday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Southwestern Oklahoma State Sports Complex. The other semifinal game is set for 11 a.m. against No. 2 Ouachita Baptist and No. 3 Harding.
Fans who can’t be at the game can find links to live stats and live video (if available) on ECUTigers.com. Go to the soccer schedule page. The live video will be part of the GAC Sports Network.
For the second season, the Bulldogs claimed the Great American Conference regular-season title, with a 7-1-1 record against league opponents and an 11-4-2 mark overall.
Southwestern has a 32-19 lead in goals scored this season over its opponents and a 129-75 advantage in shots on goal.
The Bulldogs have a group of three players with at least five goals this season. Miranda Balezentis has tallied six and added two assists, while Kelsey Visor and Alexis Russell have each tallied five goals.
Courtney Flores has seen most of the action in net for SWOSU, earning six shutouts, 51 saves and allowing 12 goals.
Against the Bulldogs
In the lone meeting with SWOSU this season, the Bulldogs earned a 1-3 win on the road. Junior Taylor Graves scored the goal for the Lady Tigers, while redshirt freshman Taylor Lowe garnered four saves.
The Lady Tigers currently hold an 11-6-2 lead in the all-time series, including a 5-4-1 mark when playing in Weatherford, Okla.
Scouting Ouachita Baptist
The other Lady Tigers are 11-5-1 overall and 6-3-1 after winning the last two matches of the regular-season.
OBU has a clear advantage in scoring over its opponents this season at 34-17. They are doing a good job of finding the back of the net, as they are close to even, 124-129, in shots on goal with the opposition.
Hayley Hatcher is the clear offensive leader for OBU, with 17 goals and two assists. The next highest number of goals for the season is three by two players.
OBU has used three different goalies this season, with Sarah Broyles seeing the most action. Broyles has played in 13 matches, allowed 2 goals and stopped 88 shots.
Against the Lady Tigers
Both teams earned a win on their home field during their senior nights this season.
Senior Ashley Bradford led the ECU with two goals, while junior Taylor Graves added an assist in the series. Redshirt freshman Taylor Lowe was in net for both outings and allowed six goals, while stopping 12 shots.
Haley Hatcher scored two of her 17 goals of the season against ECU, while Morgan Pitchford added a goal and an assist. Sarah Broyles played both matches in the net, stopping 16 shots and allowing three goals.
ECU currently holds a 6-4 lead in the all-time series with OBU. The teams have meet on a neutral field once in the series, with OBU earning the win.
The Bisons are 7-8-1 overall and finished 6-4 in the GAC after winning their last five matches. The stretch includes a win over regular-season champion Southwestern Oklahoma State (Oct. 25).
Harding trails its opponents in goals scored this season 21-27 and 92-121 in shots on goal.
The Bisons have six players with multiple goals scored on the season. Jenna Taylor leads the group with four goals and an assist, while McKenna Smith and Audrey Adkison have each garnered three goals and three assists.
Kaitlyn Miller has seen all the action in net for Harding, with a 1.70 goals against average, 90 saves and four shutouts.
Against the Bisons
The Lady Tigers and Harding each earned a win on their home field in 2013.
Junior Kourtney Holleman and senior Ashley Bradford each scored a goal for ECU. Redshirt freshman Taylor Lowe tallied 12 saves and allowed three goals.
McKenna Smith tallied a goal for the Bisons, while Kaitlyn Miller earned 10 saves and allowed three goals.
The Lady Tigers hold a 7-2 advantage in the all-time series. If the teams meet at the tournament it will be the first meeting at a neutral site.
Ranking in the Nation
The NCAA has released their latest set of national soccer statistics and ECU is currently ranked 64th in saves per match (5.81).
Double Senior Honors
After going 2-0 Oct. 11-13, two ECU soccer players earned GAC Player of the Week honors. Senior Ashley Bradford was named the Offensive Player of the Week and senior Susana Galvez picked up the Defender of the Week awards.
Bradford scored both game winning goals for the Lady Tigers over the weekend. She helped ECU hand OBU its first GAC loss of the season. She totaled five shots, four on goal, and a .800 shot on goal percentage for the weekend. She entered the weekend with only one goal on the year.
Galvez helped the Lady Tigers pick up a pair GAC victories over the weekend. She helped the team block four shots by Harding. She added a shot on goal while playing all 90 minutes. In the overtime win against Ouachita Baptist, she played all 94 minutes and helped the team block four shots – including two in overtime. She added goal in the OT victory.
Lowe Earns Recognition
Redshirt-freshman Taylor Lowe had a strong game in the net for the Lady Tigers in their first win of the 2013 season and was named the GAC Goalkeeper of the Week for Oct. 1. Lowe earned her first career shutout with a 2-0 win over Northwestern. She stopped all five shots sent her way.
Heavy Home Schedule Early
This season those wishing to see the Lady Tigers in action at home had to come to Lady Tiger Field early, as the season was lopsided on home and away matches. ECU played all of its eight home matches by Oct. 13, with the first home contest scheduled for Sept. 10 against Northeastern State at 4 p.m. The Lady Tigers played their final home matches Oct. 11 (Harding) and Oct. 13 (Ouachita Baptist) before finishing the season with six straight road matches.