MOBILE, Ala. – The University of South Alabama soccer team rallied to edge Austin Peay 2-1 and take the trophy on the final day of the Port City Classic at The Cage Sunday afternoon.
“Austin Peay is a very good team,” said USA head coach Mike Varga. “They could very well win their conference this year and be an NCAA Tournament team. It’s good to see our group battle through a 1-0 deficit, come back to score two and stay with it all the way to the end.”
The Jaguars are now 7-1 on the season, hold a seven-match win streak and are undefeated at The Cage. With the loss, the Lady Governors fall to 5-2 and take third place in the tournament.
The Lady Govs took the early lead after Jocelyn Murdoch headed in a corner kick by Emily Kink 25 minutes in to the match.
The Jags were able to rally when senior Jasmine Sanders (Monroe, La.) played a through ball from senior Kayla Conrad (Blue Mounds, Wis.) off the near post and into the back of the net for the game equalizer at the 36-minute mark.
“When I put subs in, I asked them to put a spark in there for us,” Varga said. “Sure enough, Kayla Conrad gets the ball, plays it through to Jasmine and she scores. They changed the momentum of the game.”
After missing her first six attempts on the afternoon, senior forward Brandi Smith (Red Oak, Texas) netted her fourth match-winning goal off a quick throw-in from sophomore Linsey Snavely (Hayes, Va.) in the 83rd minute of play.
For Smith, the tournament's offensive MVP, it was her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
“I knew that Brandi had one in her today,” said Varga. “She got some chances and I just told her to stick with it. She finally got the chance and buried it for us.”
South Alabama goalkeeper Melissa Drish was named defensive MVP of the tournament after recording eight saves and picking up her seventh win of the season.
USA outshot APSU 15-13 in this afternoon’s contest.
Also named to the all-tournament team for the Jags were freshman midfielder Shawn Meach (Pensacola, Fla.) and sophomore defender Jessica Oram (Pace, Fla.).
Troy (4-3) picked up second place in the tournament after recording a 3-1 win over Presbyterian (0-6) earlier today.
The Jaguars will continue their five-match home stand when they host Morehead State Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at The Cage.
For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with www.usajaguars.com. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).
Port City Classic All-Tournament Team
Brandi Smith, USA
Shawn Meach, USA
Jessica Oram, USA
Melissa Drish, USA
Paige McMillan, Troy
Ruth Sutcliffe, Troy
Alissa Jones, Troy
Brittany Whitson, Presbyterian
Tatiana Ariza, APSU
Emily Perkins, APSU
Jocelyn Murdoch, APSU