Midwestern State turned a season of learning into solid practice in the opening round of the Lone Star Conference Postseason Tournament Thursday afternoon at The Pitch in Canyon, TX.
Sophomore Payton Fookes finished off a cross from Maddie Fraser to give the Mustangs 1-0 win over Abilene Christian.
"We're playing good soccer and we've played in a lot of close games," MSU coach Jeff Trimble said of his battle-tested team. "We've learned from our mistakes early this year and we're finding way to score now."
MSU advances to the semifinal round to take on league champion West Texas A&M Friday night at The Pitch in Canyon. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The Mustangs beat the Lady Buffs 4-1 on the same field earlier this season.
"We'll enjoy this one until tomorrow, then we'll worry about the next one," Trimble said.
The Mustangs defense headed by seniors Hanna Staley and Berklee Dressler as well as junior Anna Molen kept the Wildcats at arm's length throughout much of the game.
"ACU is a really good team," Trimble said. "If you don't pressure them, then you are in trouble. That's we did wrong last week (in a 2-0 loss in Abilene). They were able to connected passes and get in a rhythm. Pressure was the key today."
And when ACU was able to break through, Midwestern goalkeeper Mallory Whitworth stood tall. The senior from McKinney made three big saves in the opening half which allowed the Mustangs to escape tied at the half.
Midwestern controlled the run of play in the second half leading up to Fookes' fifth goal of the season.
"Payton is dangerous and when she is feeling confident, she is difficult to handle," Trimble said. "She got inside of her defender and got to the ball first, but that showed a lot about our team and about our defense. It's just a matter of us getting a goal."
The Mustangs (7-9-3) are now 6-3-1 over their last 10 matches and won three of their last four.
Abilene Christian closes the season at 8-10-1.
Monzaigo Williams spurred a game-closing 11-3 run to lift the 22nd-ranked Midwestern State 72-64 exhibition win over Southwestern Assemblies of God Thursday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The 6-0, 170-pound point guard from Palmdale, Calif. knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and connected on two free throws after the Lions used a Caleb Gentry trey to pull even at 61-61 with 5:35 to play.
Williams poured in 13 of his game-high 15 points in the second half, including eight in the final run to lead a sluggish MSU effort. He added seven assists and three steals while shooting 5-of-8 from the field to fill out a solid line.
Senior forward Corbin Thomas contributed a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Keith Spellman and junior Cam Adderley notched 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Southwestern Assemblies of God, which is coming off of a 27-win campaign, rode the play of Dominique Rambo to take a 37-34 lead into halftime.
The teams exchanged leads nine times in the second half with the Lions claiming their last advantage by a 58-56 mark on Devante Dunn's 3-ball with 6:48 to play.
But Williams connected on the first of his three treys down the stretch on the next possession as the Mustangs would never trail again.
Jonathan Walter and Dunn added 11 points each for Southwestern Assemblies of God.
Midwestern State plays its final exhibition game Monday night against Sul Ross State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.