Tournament MVP Alexandra Rouse scored the game-winning goal, her second of the game, just past the 71-minute mark to lead the Motlow State Community College Lady Bucks to a 3-2 victory over Southwest Tennessee and the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament championship Friday afternoon at St. George’s School in Collierville.
Motlow (11-4-2) advances to the NJCAA Central District Tournament, to be held in Godfrey, Illinois beginning Nov. 1. The Lady Bucks will face the host team, Lewis & Clark College, on the Trailblazers home pitch at a time yet to be announced.
Prior to the trip, Motlow was scheduled to host the Martin Methodist College JV on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Tullahoma’s soccer field behind East Middle School. As of press time, the result of that match was unavailable.
The dramatic come-from-behind win – after the Lady Bucks trailed 3-2 early in the second half – came on the heels of a grueling 1-0 overtime win over Dyersburg State in Thursday’s tournament semifinals. Sophomore Tyler Feaster kicked the game-winning goal at the 98-minute mark to advance Motlow into the tournament finals.
Megan Blunhoefer got the Lady Bucks on the scoreboard first Friday, scoring an unassisted goal at 22:23 minutes. The Lady Saluqis bounced right back though, with Katie Smith scoring the first of her two goals five minutes later.
Smith scored her second goal two-and-a-half minutes into the second half, giving Southwest the 2-1 lead. The advantage didn’t last long though, as Rouse scored just 45 seconds later to tie the contest at 2-2 and set the stage for her game winner.
Emily Bryant went the distance for Motlow at goal keeper, saving three Southwest shots at the goal. Motlow outshot the Lady Saluqis 18-7, including 11-5 in the second half, with Rouse, Feaster and Blunhoefer keeping the pressure on with 12 shots combined.
Rouse, from Oak Ridge, was named the tournament Most Valuable Player, while classmate Emily Vallejo, from Nashville, was named the league’s Freshman of the Year. Sophomore Natalie Feaster from Franklin County was named the conference Defensive Player of the Year. Natalie Feaster, Tyler Feaster, Kayla Moultry and Keely Smith were each named the All-TCCAA team.
Head Coach Andy Lyon, who built the new Motlow soccer program from scratch after being hired in September 2016, was named the TCCAA/Region VII Coach of the Year.
The Lady Bucks will face a significant challenge at the Central District Tournament. Lewis & Clark is undefeated and currently ranked No. 6 in the latest NJCAA poll. The Trailblazers have shut out 12 of the 16 opponents they have faced, after advancing to the national tournament last season.