Central Oklahoma's Summer Grantham's floating shot from 30 yards seemed to suspend in mid-air before it crashed into the back of the net as the 22nd-ranked Bronchos edged Midwestern State Wednesday night at the MSU Soccer Field.
"I don't know if that was skill or luck or what but you have to give her credit," MSU coach Jeff Trimble said. "I felt we were the better team tonight, but you have to give UCO credit, they came up with the win."
The Bronchos extended their winning streak to 11 games after opening the season with three consecutive losses, but had to endure a series of great Midwestern opportunities.
The Mustangs controlled the run of play greatly in the second half by outshooting UCO 12-5 and seemed destined to find the back of the net when Payton Fookes delivered a deft cross from the left wing, but senior forward Kelsey Hill miss-hit the header over the crossbar in the 54th minute.
"We played good soccer tonight," Trimble said. "I was proud of how hard we worked and how we created opportunities. We just have to take care of our chances."
Junior midfielder Maddie Fraser caught UCO goalkeeper Brandi Bartley leaning the wrong way, but the freshman recorded to make one of her five saves of the match as she improved to 11-0 as a starter between the posts.
Bartley also knocked MSU senior forward Lindsay Pritchard's blast from 23 yards out in the 84th over the crossbar to close out her seventh shutout of the season.
The Mustangs, who fell to 8-3-3 on the season, hit the road for a pair of conference matches at Texas A&M-Commerce on Friday and Texas Woman's University on Sunday.
"We have to be ready for Friday and Sunday. This is going to be a real challenge for us," Trimble said. "The question will be how are we going to respond?"
Midwestern State opened second in the first South Central Region Rankings released Wednesday afternoon by the NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Committee.
The Mustangs take a three-match winning streak into tonight's matchup against No. 22 Central Oklahoma and have won five of their last six contests with the lone setback coming against top-ranked Abilene Christian.
ACU (13-0-1) tops the rankings followed by MSU (8-3-1), Central Missouri (13-1-0), Central Oklahoma (9-2-0), St. Edward's (11-1-1), Texas A&M-Commerce (7-6-2), Dallas Baptist (8-4-1), West Texas A&M (7-6-1), Truman (8-4-2) and Northeastern State (7-3-1).
The top six teams advance to the NCAA Division II playoffs beginning with the first and second round matches played in two three-team pods at the sites of the top two teams in each region on the weekend of Nov. 11-13.
If the playoffs started today, the Mustangs would play host to Central Missouri and Texas A&M-Commerce and face the winner in the second round.
Central Oklahoma would battle St. Edward's in Abilene with the winner advancing to face host Abilene Christian.
The winners of the two pods advance to the Third/Quarterfinals rounds against the top two teams of the West Region for the right to advance to the NCAA II Championships beginning Dec. 1 in Pensacola, Fla.
The championship field is set for release on Monday, Nov. 7.
Midwestern State opened at No. 2 in the South Central Region rankings released Wednesday afternoon by the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Committee.
The Mustangs (8-3-0) command the second spot in the rankings due to head-to-head wins over No. 3 Northeastern State (8-2-2) and No. 4 Texas A&M International (6-2-2).
Incarnate Word (10-1-1) tops the rankings while first-year program Fort Hays State (5-2-0) and Eastern New Mexico (5-3-2) check in at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively.
The top two teams from the South Central and Central regions square off for its respective championship on Thursday, Nov. 10 at the home site of the No. 1 seeds.
The winners advance to the site of the highest remaining seed with the Central Region receiving preference on Sunday, Nov. 13 for a national quarterfinal berth against the winner of the West Region.
The national quarterfinals are slated for Nov. 20 at the site of the highest remaining seed with preference to the South Central/Central regions.
The victor moves on to the Final Four which is set for Dec. 1-3 in Pensacola, Fla.
Fort Lewis (Colo.) (13-1-0) leads the Central Region followed by Colorado Mines (9-4-1), Regis (Colo.) (9-3-1), Metro State (Colo.) (9-5-1), Colorado-Colorado Springs (8-6-0) and Upper Iowa (3-4-1).
Seattle Pacific (Wash.) (9-2-2) leads the West followed by Chico State (Calif.) (8-3-3), Cal State-Dominguez Hills (10-3-1), Grand Canyon (Ariz.) (9-3-1), Cal State-Los Angeles (8-1-5), Cal Poly Pomona (9-4-1), Cal State-Stanislaus (7-5-1) and Sonoma State (Calif.) (9-4-1).
Midwestern State takes on Incarnate Word Friday night at the MSU Soccer Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.