With today’s tough-it-out 2-1 win over No. 8 Emory, the Cowgirls of Hardin-Simmons University now move into new territory, but not on unfamiliar ground.
No. 2 Hardin-Simmons has been to the Elite Eight once before in 2006. That run ended in a 3-0 loss at eventual national champion Wheaton (Ill.). Ironically, Wheaton was in the HSU sectional this weekend, but a rematch was not in the cards as Emory advanced past the Thunder on PKs. But four years later and with an injury-free line-up, Coach Marcus Wood was ready to push his team farther into post-season play and get the Cowgirls into position for a run at the national title. With Friday’s 2-0 shut-out of upstart Redlands, and Saturday’s victory over a strong Emory team, Coach Wood and his team have their chance.
While Hardin-Simmons will now be thinking about that Final Four tournament experience in two weeks, what they don’t have to worry about is the in-state trip to San Antonio. The team has been there before, playing SCAC foe Trinity over 10 times in past seasons. While the tournament matches will be played across town at the Blossom Soccer complex, the Cowgirls should feel at home.
This is a great story and a nice outcome for a program that has been a national competitor for over five years, slowing building a solid tradition of soccer excellence. The only thing left to do is to wait for Sunday’s results, and then to win just two more matches. With no disrespect for Williams, Otterbein, William Smith and others, a No. 1 versus No. 2 match-up in the final would be something to see.
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