Admittedly, Sam Broadbent wasn't quite trying to put the ball in the back of the net in the 69th minute of scoreless match Friday night at the MSU Soccer Field.
But the slightly miss-struck ball not only gave No. 13 Midwestern State the lead, but it also gave the Mustangs momentum for a 3-0 win over No. 4-ranked Incarnate Word.
"I was trying to get the ball back into the box as quickly as I could," the senior midfielder said. "It did help us catch fire after we put the first one in."
MSU coach Doug Elder agreed after Broadbent ran down Nathan Fitzgerald's crossing pass near the touch line on the right side of the field. He then struck a spinner just over the outstretch arms of Incarnate Word goalkeeper Chris Fidler to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
"Once, we scored that first goal, it opened things up," Elder said. "We played with passion and heart tonight and that makes a difference. Our motto was to get back in the (postseason) game tonight and this definitely did that."
Midwestern also extended its home field unbeaten streak to 39 games dating back to the 2007 season while improving its season record to 10-3.
Six minutes later, the Mustangs appeared to have the put away goal in site courtesy of an Incarnate Word hand ball in the box, but senior midfielder Dean Lovegrove missed wide left.
"That could have given them momentum, but we really responded well after that," Elder said.
Fernando Garza and Fitzgerald delivered a nice combination of tight passes to spring Chris Dwyer for a one-on-one opportunity with Fidler for his eighth goal of the season to push the MSU advantage to 2-0 in the 80th minute.
Another series of one-touch passes in the 89th minute allowed junior forward Zach Funk to find the open net for his second goal of the season to give the Mustangs a commanding 3-0 advantage.
"I haven't been real pleased with our speed of play and toughness on defense," Elder said. "But we can win a lot if we play like this."
Elder also lauded the play of redshirt-freshman Sam Bartek at right back as MSU limited the Cardinals 12 shots with just four falling on frame.
Midwestern State closes the weekend by playing host to St. Edward's Sunday afternoon at the MSU Soccer Field. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Incarnate Word fell to 10-2-1 on the season.
Senior forward Kelsey Hill collected a loose ball in the box and drilled in her team leading eight goal of the season to lift Midwestern State to a crucial 1-0 Lone Star Conference win at Texas A&M-Commerce Friday night.
With the win, the Mustangs improved to 9-4-2 on the season and to 7-3-1 in league play as MSU maintained its 4-point lead over Eastern New Mexico for second place in the conference standings.
"When it started getting down to the wire, you really start thinking about the tough loss we head earlier this week against UCO," MSU coach Jeff Trimble said. "It was nice to take advantage of the good chance we had. This is a very important win for us."
Senior forward Maddie Fraser worked free in the box in the 86th minute, but her shot bounded off of a defender to Hill, who took one touch and scored with just 4 minutes remaining on the clock.
The goal was the 42nd of her career as Hill now stands one goal behind MSU scoring leaders Becky Athey (1995-98) and April Lasater (1996-98).
The Mustangs used a dominating performance in the second half outshooting the Lions by a 10-2 margin, but were unable to cash in for a score until the closing moments.
"(Sophomore forward) Mickey Brown gave us much needed energy and was a spark off of the bench," Trimble said. "Hanna Staley played very well in the back."
Midwestern State limited the Lions to seven total shots as junior Mallory Whitworth made a pair of saves to secure her fourth shutout of the season.
The Mustangs close out the weekend with a match against Texas Woman's University in Denton Sunday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.