LAREDO, Texas – Jennifer Cole, Kristen Grant and Holiday Williams each found the back of the net to lift McMurry University past Texas A&M International University 3-2 Monday evening in Heartland Conference action at the TAMIU Soccer Complex.
The win was another milestone for the McMurry program under fourth-year head coach Alan Riches. Monday's win clinched the first non-losing season in program history, as well as the program's first three-game winning streak.
"It's special and I'm extremely proud of this team," Riches said following the win. "One of our goals was to have the best season as a soccer program at McMurry University and this group did just that. The program has turned a new page."
It didn't take long for the War Hawks to strike.
Moments into the first half Cole (Lake Jackson, Texas/Navarro JC) received a pass from Rachel Moore (Waco, Texas/Waco HS) and drilled a shot from 25 yards out to make it 1-0.
Seconds before halftime Williams (Bedford, Texas/LD Bell HS) received an entry pass from Destin Connally (San Angelo, Texas/Angelo State) and won a one-on-one battle with TAMIU goalkeeper Anna Martinez to make it 2-0 at halftime.
McM struck two minutes into the second half when Grant (Copperas Cove, Texas /Copperas Cove HS) corralled a pass from Paige Harwell (Trophy Club, Texas/Northwest HS) and lofted a shot into the back of the net to give the War Hawks a commanding 3-0 advantage.
TAMIU (2-14, 2-7 Heartland) battled back to make it a game. Kim Garcia scored moments after the 60-minute mark and Claudia De Lara punched one in at the 66-minute mark cut the lead to within one with nearly 30 minutes left in the second half.
However, the War Hawks' defense would hold to clinch the win.
"It was a nail-bitter and had to play the entire 90 minutes," Riches said. "We played opportunistic on offense today and took our chances when we had to."
The War Hawks (7-7-1, 4-4-1) now wait to see who their opponent will be in National Christian College Athletic Association regional tournament.
"We are going to enjoy this for a week," Riches said. "The NCCAA tournament is going to be the icing on the cake for a fantastic season."