The first season of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Women’s Soccer under head coach Lance Key will be one for the ages.
Freshman Karleen Bedre scored a goal in the 10th minute before Gwen Mummert and Rachel Sutter put the match away with goals during a seven-minute span in the second half as Louisiana blanked No. 2-seeded Troy, 3-0, in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Championships at the Foley Sports Complex.
Mackenzie Lee stopped five shots in combining with Victoria Mendes for a shutout as Louisiana (9-7-3) won its first-ever match in the month of November in 16 career contests, while advancing to the semifinals to face third-seed Arkansas State – which defeated Texas State in penalty kicks – on Friday at 4 p.m.
After allowing Troy (12-3-4) to score an equalizer goal in the 88th minute in an eventual 2-1 overtime setback in the regular-season finale on Oct. 27, Louisiana came out firing early with a shot by Skyla Sykes before Bedre would find the back of the net a few minutes later.
Bedre collected a loose ball in front of the net and scored past Troy goalkeeper Haleigh Mercer to give Louisiana a 1-0 lead.
Lee, who took part in her eighth shutout of the season for Louisiana, stopped four shots in the first half as Troy held a 10-2 advantage in shots.
Louisiana took a 2-0 lead in the second half after Sykes drew a foul inside the 18-yard box and Mummert converted on her fifth goal of the season – and single-season, school-record fourth by penalty kick – in the 61st minute.
Second-seeded Troy, which held a 17-9 advantage in shots, continued to apply pressure in Louisiana’s half of the field, but a header by a Ragin’ Cajuns defender ended up at the feet of Kobi McNutt.
The junior placed a brilliant thru ball to a wide-open Sutter near midfield, and the freshman eventually beat Mercer with a shot that caromed off the lower, left post and into the back of the net for her first career goal and a 3-0 lead.
McNutt and Sutter each took a pair of shots for Louisiana, which snapped a three-match losing streak to the Trojans dating back to 2016. Melissa Kuya-Strobel took a match-high four shots for Troy with Kate Lorenz adding three.
Mercer collected three saves for the Trojans before being lifted for Miranda Schoening in the 85th minute.