COMMERCE, TX (KAUZ) - Midwestern State totaled three second half goals, receiving the game-winning goal from freshman forward Avery Lewis and a pair of scores from junior forward Destinee Williamson to earn a 3-0 win over Eastern New Mexico and advance to Friday's Lone Star Conference semifinals at Lion Soccer Field in Commerce.
The No. 3 seed Mustangs will meet No. 2 West Texas A&M in their semifinal matchup tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Midwestern State (12-5-2) broke through less than a minute into the second half with Lewis netting the eventual game winner at 45:55 in her first appearance back from injury three weeks ago. The strike was Lewis's second goal of the campaign with her first goal coming in the season opener at Regis (Colo.).
Williamson added to the MSU lead late in the period with a strike from inside the box for a 2-0 advantage in the 75th minute. The Bedford native struck again less than four minutes later, putting the contest out of reach for Eastern New Mexico (3-14-1) with a shot off a rebound for her team-leading eighth goal of the season to make the score 3-0 in the 78th minute.
Junior keeper Courtney Burnette tied the MSU career (22) and single-season (9) shutout records Thursday, collecting four saves in the win.
The Mustangs defense tallied their ninth shutout of the season and fourth in the last five outings after limiting the Greyhounds to just four shots on goal, all coming in the final 25 minutes of play.
"Hats off to Eastern New Mexico, they had a good plan and forced us to adjust," said MSU head coach Damian Clarke. "The girls performed in the second half and for the chance to be in the semis. Liz [Navarette] had to move to the back and her passing decisions created Avery's goal. Aly Wade was huge in the second half and dominated in the midfield. We will rest and go to battle tomorrow with a very good West Texas A&M team."
Midwestern State matched a league-high six All-Heartland Conference selections while picking up three individual honors with senior midfielder Gabriel Cavalcante being named the Heartland Conference Player of the Year, senior forward Christian Okeke earning Heartland Offensive Player of the Year accolades and Doug Elder being tabbed the Heartland Conference Coach of the Year.
Joining Cavalcante and Okeke on the All-Heartland Conference First Team was senior midfielder Flavio Guzman and junior defender Jordan Speed. Senior defender Antonio Hernandez and junior midfielder Pierre Bocquet rounded out the MSU all-conference selections with second team honors.
The league champions tied with St. Edward's with six all-conference picks with West Texas A&M adding four selections and Newman and Texas A&M International each placing three on all-conference teams. Rogers State, Eastern New Mexico, St. Mary's and Oklahoma Christian each had one player named all-conference.
St. Edward's junior Ty Mobley was named the league's defensive player of the year while Lubbock Christian's Erwin Regules garnered a freshman of the year nod to round out the individual honors.
Midwestern State claimed its first Heartland Conference regular season title last week after three seasons competing as an independent. The Mustangs finished the regular season with a 15-2-1 record and 13-1-0 mark in conference play to earn the No. 1 seed and host this weekend's Heartland Conference Tournament at MSU Soccer Field.
MSU faces No. 4 seed Newman (Kan.) in the conference semifinals tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at MSU Soccer Field.