Troy drops last two games, still clinches spot in SBC tourney

Scott McLendon

Staff Writer

The Trojan soccer team clenched the No. 8 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament despite falling in its final two regular-season matches.

After losing to ULM 2-3 and to Little Rock 0-2, Troy almost missed out on postseason play, but a 1-1 draw between Texas State and ULM gave it the lift it needed to sneak into the seeding.

On Friday, Oct. 21, the Trojans traveled to take on ULM in a match that, given a Trojan win, would put them into the conference tournament.

They seized the lead twice against ULM, and the first shots came from freshman forward Qarli Stone at 20 minutes.

The home side took little time to find an equalizer in the 36th minute, but sophomore midfielder Alison Watkins restored the visitors’ lead. ULM scored the final two goals, tying and winning the game.

Troy took 11 shots to ULM’s five, but the hosts were more deadly with their chances—three of those shots found the back of the net.

Warhawk goalkeeper Brooke Scoggins racked up five saves, including three in the second half, to keep the Trojans out of the win column.

“It was a very disappointing game,” Head Coach Jason Hamilton said. “We only had one or two players play well, and that isn’t going to be enough to win a game at any level.

“We only gave up five shots, but three went in the goal. There was a real lack of pride in defending today. ULM looked like the team that was desperate to get into the tournament and we played like a team that was already safe.”

The final regular season match for the Trojans yielded a dismal performance, losing at Little Rock 2-0. The hosts peppered the Trojan net with 12 shots, while the visitors managed only three.

“Going into the weekend, we were where any coach would want to be; we had control of our own destiny,” Hamilton said. “Unfortunately, the two performances that we gave were not worthy of any sort of result.

“We knew coming into today that we would struggle to create opportunities. Having three of your top attacking players out is not something you look forward to.

“The positive we will take from this is that we had eight freshmen play in today’s game, which gave them crucial experience moving forward.”

The Trojans enter the Sun Belt tournament pitted against rival South Alabama, hoping to repeat the 1-0 win from earlier this season.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Mobile.

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