App State clinches conference tournament berth with consecutive wins


Alec Stacey

Junior defender Mumu Guisasola strikes the ball in the air during App State’s 0-1 loss to Georgia State Oct. 6, 2022.

Sarah Kruger and Alex Urquiza

App State soccer secured a 1-0 victory against Southern Miss Thursday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The Black and Gold went on to obtain a subsequent 3-1 win Sunday against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at the Ted Mackorell soccer complex.

Sunday’s win against Louisiana secured the Mountaineers a place in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. 

Against Southern Miss., junior forward Izzi Wood gave the Mountaineers the lead in the 14th minute. Wood placed her shot in the bottom left corner after she received a pass from the top of the 18-yard box by junior forward Breckyn Monteith. 

Despite Southern Miss. outshooting the Mountaineers 13 shots to four, App State kept a clean sheet — its sixth clean sheet of the season. Senior goalkeeper Kerry Eagleston completed eight saves in the match, seven of which were in the second half. Eagleston now has 18 clean sheets, matching the six she had last season. Eagleston is now one clean sheet shy of tying the single season shutout record. 

Two of the three goals scored Sunday came from junior midfielder Katie Fuller. The third goal was scored by Wood.

The first goal netted came 30 minutes into the match — a header from Fuller. Fuller was assisted by a shallow cross from Monteith out of the midfield. The second goal, also from Fuller, was headed in just 54 seconds before the end of the first half, resulting from a cross by sophomore forward Stephanie Barbosa. 

This aggressive, unrelenting attack from the Mountaineers left them up 2-0 at the break. 

The third goal, the result of a pass kicked forward through Louisiana’s defense by senior forward Emma McGibany, came in the 65th minute. Wood linked up a pass from McGibany and elegantly placed the ball in the back of the net. 

The fourth goal of the match, the first for Louisiana, came in the 73rd minute. Megan Bradley scored an unassisted goal. 

This goal came as the result of Louisiana’s quick counterattack on App State,  exploiting the space behind the Mountaineers defensive backline. This space came as a result of the Mountaineers use of the 4-3-3 formation, which implemented a high press into Louisiana’s half. 

Louisiana failed to score any more goals and the Mountaineers secured a 3-1 victory at the final whistle. This was App State’s final home match of the season. 

Head coach Aimee Haywood said that a major focus in the locker room before the game was a desire to wrap up the end of the Mountaineers’ home season with “a great performance” and make sure that all the “details we’ve been working on all season were there.”

The first half saw slower, measured play from the Mountaineers. App State created many opportunities as a result of its quick counter attack, but failed to execute three early opportunities for a goal. 

“We lacked a bit of intensity and aggressiveness in the midfield to start the game,” Haywood said. “But I think we made some adjustments and that came along.”

Despite this initial setback, the Mountaineers were hungry for a goal. This was evidenced by their relentless attack once they settled into the match. When App State scored its first goal, a fire seemed to ignite and the Mountaineers became unstoppable,  evidenced by the scoring of goals two and three with no shortage of additional opportunities for the Black and Gold. 

 App State dominated possession, territory and chances for the majority of the first and second halves, resulting in an unrelenting and aggressive App State juxtaposed by an uneven Louisiana struggling to keep up. This could be observed most notably in App State out-shooting Louisiana 16-8. 

App State will play its final match of the regular season Thursday at Texas State at 8 p.m. ESPN+ will stream the match live. The Sun Belt Tournament begins Monday, Oct. 31.