BETHANY, Okla. – Win and advance.
Kristen Grant (Copperas Cove, Texas/Copperas Cove HS) scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 27:03-mark in the first half, as McMurry University upended Southwestern Christian University, 1-0, in the opening game of the 2013 National Christian College Athletic Association Central Regional Tournament.
McM head coach Alan Riches is pleased with the win, especially after obstacles the team faced on the trip to Bethany.
"Our van broke down just south of Wichita Falls and we were stuck for an hour. Then we get into town around 3 p.m. and the van didn't start again at Subway. We check into the hotel at 3:45 and we just throw everything in the rooms and the girls get taped and we leave at 4:10 and somehow the van starts," Riches said, but from there, pandemonium happens, again. "We get to the field and it's discovered that two of our starters left their jerseys at the hotel and they couldn't play in the first half because we had to send our trainer back to the hotel to get the jerseys."
Despite the challenges, an opportunity was provided.
"Prior to the start of the season I told each player they would have their time to shine," Riches said.
The player who had the opportunity to step up was Hillari Chambers (Stephenville, Texas/Stephenville HS). The senior was pressed into action and assisted on Grant's game-winning goal.
"Hillari has waited, waited and waited. We don't have two starters on the field and she goes into the game and gets the games only assist," Riches said. "Every player on the roster has had their moment – either if it's a goal, assist or huge defensive effort."
The War Hawks will finish the season at .500 or better, which is a program first.
"That's a good feeling and everything else is going to be icing on the cake," Riches said, who now faces Heartland Conference rival Dallas Baptist University in the semi-finals. "We get to play a great Dallas Baptist team and it's going to be fun to see how we match-up with them."
Game time is set for noon this Friday at the Wanda Rhodes Soccer Complex.