Women’s soccer team advances to C-USA Semifinals for first time in school history

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The Marshall University women’s soccer team defeated Louisiana Tech University 2-1 Wednesday to advance to the Conference USA Tournament semifinals in Miami, Florida.

In the semifinals, the Herd will face the winner of the match between three-seeded Florida Atlantic University and six-seeded Old Dominion University.

With its opening round victory, the Herd, which earned a program-best number two seed in the tournament, advances to the tournament semifinals for the first time in school history.

“This was the first time we have been in the tournament with this high of a seed,” head coach Kevin Long said. “So, that’s a spot we’re not typically used to. The first thing was to realize that everyone is going to come at us.”

Leading the Herd attack in the team’s record-setting victory was junior forward Sydney Arnold. Arnold, who was named to the all-conference second team Tuesday, scored both goals in the victory.

Arnold’s first goal came via a breakaway in the 17th minute of action, snapping Louisiana Tech’s streak of 379 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.

Although Marshall’s defense held the Bulldogs without a shot until the 31st minute, Louisiana Tech took advantage of one of its two first-half shots as it tied the match in the 42nd minute to make the score 1-1 heading into halftime.

Arnold struck again in the 73rd minute off an assist from freshman forward Mack Moore to give the Herd a 2-1 lead.

Senior goalkeeper Lizzie Kish and the Marshall defense held Louisiana Tech scoreless over the final 17 minutes to preserve the postseason victory.

Long said the game’s intensity was heightened due to it being the postseason, but said he thought his team overcame the increased sense of urgency.

“This tournament is win or go home,” Long said. “I think that was probably the first obstacle we had to overcome. I think we saw that in the tempo of play.”

As the team continues its postseason run, Long said every opponent is going to be a challenge, and the factor of it being a conference tournament only increases the competitiveness of each match.

“”In non-conference matchups, it’s competitive, then you get into the conference schedule and the level increases,” Long said. “At the tournament, teams are just coming at you. Everybody’s good. We saw that (Wednesday) in Louisiana Tech. They challenged us throughout.”

The Herd’s semifinal match is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.