SportsSoccerSouthern Miss falls short of C-USA Championship in loss...

Southern Miss falls short of C-USA Championship in loss to Old Dominion

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Southern Miss Soccer’s historic run came to an end as Old Dominion beat the Golden Eagles in the C-USA Finals in a 1-0 match.

“These ladies have given it their best. I’m proud of the effort, the resiliency that they have shown throughout the year, and the group that they have become,” Head Coach Mohammed El-Zare said.

Southern Miss put together a historic season, only months removed from a loss in the C-USA Semifinals last season, losing key seniors and adding 11 freshmen to its squad. Despite the challenging circumstances, the Golden Eagles had one of its strongest seasons, winning ten games and were crowned division champions for the first time in program history.

The Golden Eagles had four students named to All-Conference USA teams, had five C-USA Player of the Week awards and had the C-USA Freshman of the Year, Ilana Izquierdo.

However, Old Dominion earned the milestone Southern Miss had longed for. The Golden Eagles had its second shot at the C-USA Title, having only reached the C-USA Final once before, losing against North Texas in the penalty shootouts in 2018.

The Monarchs controlled the pace throughout the game and limited Southern Miss’ chances to three shots on goal. Old Dominion’s defensive performance handed the Golden Eagles its first scoreless match since a 0-0 draw against North Texas on Sept. 24.

The only score in the game came in the twentieth minute as Old Dominion’s Morgan Hall headed a ball past senior goalkeeper Kendell Mindnich.

While Southern Miss began its previous match against UAB with a 1-0 deficit, the Monarchs thwarted the Golden Eagles’ attacks. 

Southern Miss started the game outshooting Old Dominion 9-4 but the Monarchs only allowed two shots in the second half, while earning six. 

Southern Miss’ closest shot came near the end of the first half as Madisyn Flammia fired a shot that sailed with the wind to Old Dominion’s goal. However, Kasey Perry made a jumping save to prevent the score.

While Mindnich allowed the first shot against her in the game, she shut down all of the Monarchs’ attacks for the rest of the game, earning six saves in her final game at Southern Miss.

Mindnich finishes her career as the winningest goalkeeper in Southern Miss history, the all-time single-season shutout leader and a career total of 176 saves.

Southern Miss’ other three returning seniors similarly led the team through their tournament. Ariel Diaz recorded one goal and two assists,  Alice Campos fired eight shots and Macie Pennington made two starts on the defense and had a key save in the win against FAU.

“The seniors have left this program better than they found it and I thank them deeply from the bottom of my heart,” El-Zare said.

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