William Carey women advance to NAIA Quarterfinal

Published: Nov. 20, 2021 at 11:15 PM CST
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William Carey Sports Information

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - It’s on to Alabama for the William Carey University women.

The Lady Crusaders successfully negotiated the Hattiesburg Bracket of the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Tournament, advancing to the NAIA Championships Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 victory over Reinhardt (Ga.) University at Crusader Field.

Saturday’s win came after a thrilling 1-0 triumph over Louisiana Christian in the opening round of the tournament Thursday night. Top-seeded Carey (20-0) will play in the National Tournament quarterfinal round Dec. 3 at Orange Beach, Ala.

“Louisiana Christian had a really great defensive game plan and tried to take away some of the things we like to do,” said Carey coach Danny Owens.

“They played it well. I told the girls to just keep playing well, and that one goal would be enough to win it. The ultimate goal is to get to Orange Beach, and I thought the girls were focused from the start.”

This is the ninth straight season that Carey has made it to the National Tournament. The Lady Crusaders have reached the national semifinals the past four seasons, with two appearances in the finals, winning the national title in 2018.

Senior defender Veronica Herrera scored the go-ahead goal in the 25th minute of play in the first half, and the Lady Crusaders added two more scores in the second half to defeat the Eagles and punch their ticket for Orange Beach.

“It’s something I’m really proud of, something I’ve worked really hard on, my strength in a crowd,” said Herrera. “I took advantage of the space and got the goal for my team.”

“I think when you get to Carey, to this program, it’s what’s expected of you,” said Santos.

“I feel like we’re happy. It’s not easy and there is a lot yet to be done. There are still three more games to be played for us to reach the goal that we want. We’ll be happy for a few seconds, but then it’s done and it’s time to focus on finishing the job.”

Carey now gets 11 days until it plays again, with a break for Thanksgiving coming up next week.

“We’ll take a couple of days to recover from these two,” Owens said. “We’ll give them Thanksgiving off, let them go see their families, and then we’ll get back after Thanksgiving and start getting to work.”

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