Women’s soccer falls just short in conference championship

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The Marshall University women’s soccer team lost in the program’s first-ever Conference USA Championship appearance Sunday to the top-seeded University of North Texas 1-0.

North Texas got out to an early advantage when Amber Haggerty rebounded her own shot and slipped it past Marshall goalkeeper Lizzie Kish in the 16th minute.

Kish and the Herd defense kept North Texas off the scoreboard the rest of the way despite the Mean Green launching 12 shots. The Marshall offense came up empty as well, failing to convert on each of its four first-half shots.

In the second half, the Herd outshot North Texas 5-4, including on-goal attempts by junior forward Sydney Arnold and senior midfielder Kelly Culicerto. However, the North Texas defense managed to blank the Herd in the second period as well securing the victory and an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.

“North Texas is a team that has demonstrated all season why they were the number one seed and continued to do so in the finals,” Marshall head coach Kevin Long said. “In the end, North Texas made it very hard to get through their back line and when we did, their keeper was right there every time.”

Arnold, Culicerto and senior midfielder Erin Simmons were named to the C-USA All-Tournament team.

The Herd, which earned its highest seed in school history as the conference’s number two seed, doubled its program postseason win total in the conference tournament with victories over the University of Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion University in the tournament quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

Long said despite the loss in the conference championship, he’s proud of the work ethic the team put in throughout the entire season en route to producing perhaps the best single season in program history.

“I can’t begin to express how extremely proud I am of this team and the effort they put forth every single day,” Long said. “I can’t wipe away the sting this loss carries with it. When it passes, there is an awful lot for this Thundering Herd team to be proud of.”