Photo by Gerald Castillo
Bobcats look to punch playoff ticket on Senior Day
The Bobcats aren’t out of the woods yet.
A corner kick from Troy with 55 seconds left in the first overtime period of Texas State’s match on Friday was headed in by senior midfielder Maddie Brune, giving the Trojans a 1-0 win inside Bobcat Soccer Complex.
The victory awarded the visitors three points in the Sun Belt table, giving Troy (11-2-4, 6-1-2 conference) a total of 20 overall and securing its place as the No. 2 seed in the league tournament. The maroon and gold’s future, however, is still uncertain.
Texas State (8-7-2, 4-4-1) currently sits in a three-way tie for fifth place with Coastal Carolina (6-8-2, 4-4-1) and Georgia State (7-8-2, 4-4-1) with 13 points each. A win could move the Bobcats up in the table. But a loss to Georgia Southern (6-9-1, 3-5-1) on Sunday could move them out of the tournament all together.
The Bobcats might find themselves in another three-way tie, this time for seventh place with the Eagles and Little Rock (5-7-6, 2-3-4). Georgia Southern would hold the first tie-breaker, as a win over Texas State would give the Eagles four table points in their matches against the other two teams. Little Rock would hold two points, with draws against Georgia Southern and the Bobcats. Texas State would have just one point, pushing them into the No. 9 spot and out of postseason play.
The team didn’t play poorly against Troy. The hosts attacked the creases of the Trojans’ defense with sharp passing and creativity — something head coach Kat Conner said the teams works a lot on in practice.
“We want to be able to know where each other are,” Conner said. “And have an awareness of (not only) where each other are but where we are on the field and what dictates what area, what we do.”
The Bobcats placed eight shots on goal and held the visitors to just four. But they weren’t able to sneak any of them past Troy junior goalkeeper Haleigh Mercer, who saved all eight chances.
The Trojans began pressing the hosts late in regulation and throughout the first overtime, resulting in corner kicks both times. Texas State snuffed out Troy’s first attempt with 2:03 left in the second half, but weren’t able to do so the second time, as Brune knocked in the walk-off score.
The maroon and gold’s regular season finale against Georgia Southern takes place on Sunday at 12 p.m. inside Bobcat Soccer Complex. The team will honor its six seniors — defender Genesis Turman, forwards Kaylee Davis and Kaylen Sanderfer, goalkeepers Kathryn Budde and Heather Martin, and midfielder Jordan Kondikoff — prior to the match.
Davis said it’ll be bittersweet to play in their final home game. Turman said she’s looking forward to the dance party the team will have in the locker room after the match.
“We're a family,” Sanderferd said. “We love these girls and it's gonna be sad when we don't get to play with them again.”
It hasn’t quite hit Conner, yet. Texas State still has a tournament to make.
“You're still focused about just seeing if we're clicking and if everything's going right,” Conner said. “So it doesn't really sink in on senior day, to me, until like their last game altogether … I think it's a celebration for all of them, and I'm just happy that they all get to do it here at our field.”