Soccer falls to LA Tech in final game


Kaitlin Fayard runs with the ball. Photo by Michael Sandoz.

The Southern Miss soccer team (7-10-1) finished the regular season with a 2-1 loss to Louisiana Tech (13-4-2) in overtime on Nov. 1. 

“Clearly they were the better team and we had our chances,” Coach Mohammed El-Zare said. “This is the only sport in the world that the statistics do not determine the winner. Such a cruel game. We deserve better, but it is the sport that we love.”

The first half was scoreless despite the Golden Eagles taking 14 shots. LA Tech had four saves for the half. At minute 75, LA Tech’s Autumn Woodard scored with an assist from Stella Li. Hailey Pohevitz scored for the Golden Eagles at minute 83 with an assist from Madisyn Flammia and tied the game. Woodard had another goal in overtime to give LA Tech their thirteenth win of the season. 

“They put in their chances, and we didn’t. But going forward, we are a mature team, a together team,” El-Zare said. “This is just a small bump on our way to bigger and better things.”

Southern Miss finished at the bottom of the conference with a final standing of 12 out of 14, a drastic contrast from the 2018 team’s conference final appearance. 

“It wasn’t what we wanted,” senior Jess Shepherd said. “We had a big incoming class of new people, so we just had to find our moment. But it just never came unfortunately.” 

The Manchester, England, native celebrated her two-season career after the game during Senior Day festivities. In her final season as a Golden Eagle, Shepherd played for 1,018 minutes. 

Shepherd also had 11 shots for the season; four were shots on the goal. 

“My statistics probably don’t show it, but out there on the field I’ve done everything I can.  I don’t have any regrets,” Shepherd said. 

Redshirt senior Kaitlin Fayard completed five seasons with the Golden Eagles after joining the team as a walk on. 

“What a story. She came in here as a walk on, and today she is not only on scholarship and has been a starter since her sophomore year on,” El-Zare said. “The amount of work she has put in all these years, graduating and now finishing up her masters is something I’m really proud of.” 

Fayard spent 1,580 minutes on the field during her final season with 15 shots and nine shots on the goal.

“I am so grateful I had the opportunity to play my fifth year,” Fayard said. “We set higher standards, and we didn’t get the outcome that we wanted. But this team has meant the world to me.”

The remainder of the senior class included Karsen Gildea, who had two saves against FIU. Jacky Manteas spent 732 minutes on the field with 14 shots and four shots on the goal.

“All of them are moving on to bigger and better things and that’s what this is all about,” El-Zare said. “They will be missed, but we wish them all the best.”