BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole State College walked off the field with a win Tuesday afternoon in its first appearance in the NJCAA Division I Soccer National Championship Tournament.
The No. 10 seed Trojans edged No. 5 seed Snow College 1-0 in a Pool C game at Orlando Health Stadium at Eastern Florida State College.
Both defenses were outstanding in the first half as the game went to halftime scoreless. Snow College’s Hailey Hillock and Seminole State College’s Giselle Longoria each made big saves to make sure their team stayed in the game.
“It wasn’t just me it was the whole team, we have such heart and passion for the game and showed it today. We wanted to win this game,” said Longoria who recorded her 16th shutout of the season. “It was tough after a loss (3-0 to Tyler Junior College) last night (Monday), we are here for a reason and we knew it was important to show that today.”
Longoria made two diving saves early in the second half as it looked as if Snow College would break through.
Then with 27 minutes and 14 seconds remaining in the contest, SSC's Juni Ejere broke for the net and Amaya Grace put it right on her feet. Ejere slotted the shot between a diving Hillock and the post to give Seminole State a 1-0 lead.
“They played extremely hard against a well-coached, talented Snow team. They are big, fast and physical and I thought we did well withstanding that pressure. Gisselle has been one of the best keepers in the nation the past two years and she did what she is capable of doing,” Seminole State College head coach Dan Hill said.
From there it was Longoria and the defense making sure the lead stuck.
Seminole State College ends their season 20-1-3 while Snow College (13-3-3) will play No. 3 seed Tyler Junior College at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the final Pool C game.
“I am proud of the girls, winning the program’s first-ever national tournament game. It was huge to get here and come to Florida and do things we have never done before,” said Hill. “We got to play against the best teams in the country and we have girls that have never been on a plane, much less come to Florida and play with the best teams in the country. We played two of the better teams in the country and I feel we represented our school well.”
As the Trojans walked off the field the Navarro College women’s soccer team clapped and cheered for them. Navarro also won their game on Tuesday and will wait to see if it was enough to advance to the semifinals.