Women's soccer team falls in national tournament semifinals

Women's soccer team falls in national tournament semifinals

The Eastern Florida State College women's soccer team fell short in its quest for a first NJCAA Division I National Championship title.

The Titans lost to Tyler Junior College in the national tournament semifinals for the third straight season. On Friday Eastern Florida State College came back to tie the game but Tyler would score the game winner with 11 minutes remaining to post the 2-1 win and advance to the national tournament finals on Saturday night.

"We just didn't get the job done. They got behind us twice, positional mistakes and they buried their chances. We had chances," Eastern Florida State College women's soccer coach Jeff Carr said. "It was a battle that felt like the national championship final. They have a heck of a team, Corey (Rose) does a heck of a job with the program and I told the team I am proud of them and that 16-1 is nothing to be ashamed of."

Eastern Florida State College finishes the season 16-1 and as one of the final four teams in the tournament.

Tyler Junior College got on the board first as freshman Mukarama Abdulai took a pass from Isabel Kopp and slid it into the corner of the net in the 37th minute.

Sophomore Aida Illas would tie the game up in the 64th minute, taking a pass from teammate Alexis Peri, turned and blasted a shot into the top of the net. It was Illas' sixth goal of the season and second of the tournament.

The Titans kept the pressure on and had chances to take the lead, but the Tyler defense was up to the task.

Then with 11 minutes left in the game, Abdulai struck again in the 79th minute, taking a pass from Patricia Estupinan to make it 2-1.

Tyler is the only team the Titans faced that scored more than once on the Titans this season. Goalkeeper Kiera Gibson made a couple of huge saves in the first half and finished with five saves. She finishes her Titans career with a program record 17 shutouts.

"They battled. Our defense has battled all year and it starts with Kiera, she is among the leaders in the nation in goals against and the back line of Amiah (Cirino), JJ (Bryant), Ella (Newman) and Emily (Bodi) played really special today and we have special players all over the field this season. We were very fortunate to have as much talent as we had and hopefully the freshmen group is back next year."

It was the final game for head coach Jeff Carr, who is stepping down after 10 seasons, 150 wins and eight trips to the national tournament.

"Coach Carswell will take over now and move on with the program and I will be excited to cheer them on," said Carr who is also the Associate Vice President of Athletics at Eastern Florida State College.