The University of Mobile scored the game-winning goal on an eerie play in the 76th minute to hold off UTB/TSC, 2-1, in their NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship Opening Round game at "The Swamp" on The University of Mobile campus.
Mobile (18-3-1), the No. 5 team in the NAIA, advances to the site of the final 16 teams in Decatur, Ala. Nov. 28-Dec. 3, where they will play Graceland University (Iowa), a 5-4 winner over Concordia University (Calif.).
"I thought we had better of the game, but were unable to get that second goal in," Scorpion head coach Nik Barjaktarevic said. "We have to give tremendous credit to Mobile for fighting the whole game and in the end getting the result. Performance and fight was truly superb, they played at an extremely high level and made it very exciting game to watch both defensively and offensively."
The game was tied at halftime, 1-1, and stayed that way until the 76th minute. A foul was called against the Scorpions, and the Rams got a quick throw-in after the foul. Some Scorpion players briefly paused, but there was no whistle blown by officials, The goal was scored off the Scorpions who were out of position to defend against a shot.
The Scorpions complained to the officials about the goal, but to no avail. "The girls went crazy at the refs but here was nothing we could do," Barjaktarevic said. .Scorpion defender Danielle Lea received a yellow card.
The loss was a heartbreaker for the Scorpions, who controlled the ball for most of the game. UTB/TSC outshot Mobile, 20-9, and had an 8-6 advantage on shots on goal.
UTB/TSC, which had a 15-game winning streak coming into the game, finished with a season record of 17-3-1.
The Scorpions got on the scoreboard/ less than three minutes into the game. Helen Wagstaff launched a 30-yard shot which found the left corner of the net to give UTB/TSC a 1-0 lead.
UM tied the game in the 27th minute and the score remained tied, 1-1, at intermission.
The second half, and especially the game-winning goal, will be one the Scorpions will remember for a long time.
The two teams met in the season opener in Aug. 25 in Hattiesburg, Miss. The game ended in a 0-0 tie.
UTB/TSC started the year 2-2-1, including a road loss to tournament-bound and No. 12 California State University-San Marcos. But since then, the Scorpions have run off 15 straight victories, including a 9-0 run through the Red River Athletic Conference and two victories in the RRAC tournament.
The Scorpions set a school record for wins with 17, goals scored with 78, and goals allowed with 15. The Scorpions posted 14 shutouts.
"It's tough to see our players especially our seniors end the season this way, but they all deserve to have their head held up high," Barjaktarevic said. "These things happen in life all the time. We just need to give it some time and then evaluate everything this team did. This has been the best team I had privilege to coach and glad I had an opportunity to share this great journey with them."