WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A goal by senior forward Christian Okeke with 1:18 to play in regulation propelled No. 11 Midwestern State to a thrilling 1-0 victory over No. 15 Colorado Mesa to advance the Mustangs to their second-straight NCAA South Central Regional final Sunday afternoon at MSU Soccer Field.
Midwestern State (17-3-1) was held to just two shots on goal before Okeke found the back of the net with his team-leading eighth goal of the season in the 89th minute. Following a shot by Colorado Mesa's Luis Schraidt, the Mustangs countered with senior midfielder Leon Taylor sending a through ball into the box to Okeke to break the scoreless contest.
The Mustangs move on to face No. 1 seed St. Edward's in the South Central Region final Thursday at UC San Diego's Triton Soccer Stadium in La Jolla, Calif. The second-seeded Tritons will play host to the No. 5 seed Cal Poly Pomona in the West Region final. The two regional winners will then square off in the national quarterfinals for a berth to the Final Four in Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 1-3.
Colorado Mesa (14-2-5) led 14-8 in shots, placing half of its attempts on goal. Senior goalkeeper Noah Fazekas concluded his career at Stang Park making six saves while the MSU back line added a team save to keep the Mavericks off the board.
The Mustangs were held without a shot in the second half until sophomore forward Jorge DeLeon fired off an attempt in the 83rd minute leading up to Okeke's strike a few minutes later.
Midwestern State's historic NCAA Tournament run came to end Sunday afternoon as the No. 6 seed Mustangs fell to No. 2 Texas A&M-Commerce 1-0 in a South Central Region semifinal matchup at Lion Soccer Field.
A Sophie Haywood header off a corner kick from Savannah Grasser proved to be the difference in the contest with Texas A&M-Commerce (15-5-1) grabbing a 1-0 advantage in the 34th minute.
The Lions held Midwestern State (13-6-5) to a season-low two shots on goal for the second time this season while earning a narrow 1-0 victory for the third time in 2016.
A&M-Commerce came close to taking a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute with Vicky Back's shot attempt sailing just high of the net and hitting the crossbar. Imani Morlock tallied MSU's first shot on goal in the 36th minute following TAMUC's eventual game-winning goal three minutes prior.
Taylor Robinson fired the lone shot on goal for the Mustangs in the second half with a shot in the 52nd minute only to be collected by keeper Caitlin Duty.