Lady Builders to play for title

Photo courtesy LARRY SCHWARTZ

Southwestern College sophomore Caitlin Estrin works the ball up the pitch Wednesday against arch rival Friends in the semifinals of the KCAC Championship at the Stryker Complex in Wichita. The Lady Builders advanced to the finals with a dominating 4-1 victory and will meet No. 1 seed Oklahoma Wesleyan at 4 p.m. Saturday for the title.

WICHITA — The Southwestern College women’s soccer team squeaked into the semifinals of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship last week against Bethany.

The third-seeded Lady Builders cruised into the finals.

Southwestern blasted arch rival and No. 2-seeded Friends 4-1 in the semifinal match Wednesday at the Stryker Complex.

The Lady Builders (13-4-1) advanced to the championship match at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Stryker Complex against top-seeded Oklahoma Wesleyan. The Lady Eagles (18-2) squeaked past fourth-seeded Kansas Wesleyan 4-3 in the other semifinal.

It’s the first time since 2012 that the Lady Builders have reached the KCAC Tournament Championship match.

Southwestern actually began with a deficit. Keily Larosee headed in a cross from Yajaira Mendoza to give the Lady Falcons (11-5-3) a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.

Just a few minutes later, though, the Lady Builders struck back with a tally from Lillian Grisso on a set piece following a foul on the near-side wing. Paige Roberts smashed a ball into the box that found the side of Grisso’s head for the goal in the 27th minute.

The teams went into the half tied 1-1, but the second half was all Southwestern.

The Lady Builders scored three unanswered goals in in the second half, all from different scorers.

Morgan Mitchell scored the go-ahead goal in front of the net to give Southwestern a 2-1 lead. Rachel Sanders sent a ball into the box, where Mitchell put it past Friends goalkeeper Alissa Brown.

Hailey Rouse stole the ball in the defensive end of the pitch and took it all the way down the right wing. She then launched a shot from about 20 yards out to find the top-left corner of the cage for Southwestern’s third goal.

The Lady Builders put the cherry on top with their final goal on a penalty kick by Lauren Fleischer in the 85th minute.

Mallorie Lund had a stellar performance in a game where she was tested seven times with shots on goal. She allowed just the single goal and made clearance plays on a couple of corner kick chances, as well.

The last time the Lady Builders reached the final game of the tourney was a 3-0 loss to Kansas Wesleyan in 2012. The winner earns an automatic berth to the NAIA Opening Round. If the Lady Builders should fall, the second bid for the KCAC will go to Friends by virtue of their second-place regular-season finish.

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