Game Recap by: Grambling State Athletics
PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas | For the first time since 2006, the Grambling State University women’s soccer team punched its ticket to the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament with a 2-1 victory over No. 2 seed Jackson State on Sunday afternoon at the PVAMU Soccer Complex.
GSU, who made its fifth trip to the SWAC title game in six years, broke its championship drought with the win. The victory also extended Grambling’s unbeaten streak to 14 games, a program record.
I’m so proud of this team and how they battled all year long, “said GSU head coach Justin Wagar. “When one player went down another stepped up. We’re currently riding a long unbeaten streak and I’m just happy for our players. It’s a load off of our shoulders to finally push through and win the title after being here so many times. I must give recognition to our assistant coach Jazmyne (Lewis) for doing a wonderful job this season as well.”
Grambling State defeated JSU on the strength of two first-half goals by Khori Banks and SWAC Women’s Soccer Tournament MVP Sophia Lezizidis. Lezizidis’ performance capped off a remarkable SWAC tournament that saw her score four goals.
Madison Covey-Taylor, Naya Vialva, Beatriz Kretteis, Adrianna Pratt, and Lezizidis were all named to the SWAC All-Tournament team.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Grambling State drew first blood in the 36th minute when Khori Banks beat JSU goalkeeper, Jordan Hamilton, off an assist by Samantha Diaz.
- The lead was short-lived however, as Jackson State’s Harper Bennett tied the game 1-1 with a goal in the 38th minute.
- Sophia Lezizidis responded just as quickly, sending a beautiful strike sailing into the net in the 40th minute, making it 2-1 GSU.
- Grambling State used its smothering defense to keep JSU at bay for the rest of the contest, securing the title and trip to the NCAA tourney.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Jackson State held an 11-5 advantage on shots taken. JSU put seven on goal, and GSU placed three on the frame.
- JSU held a 6-1 advantage on corner kicks.
- Grambling State was whistled for 12 fouls while Jackson State was called for four.
- Madison Covey-Taylor made four total saves for GSU.
- This win marks Grambling State’s third SWAC Tournament title. This will also be GSU’s second trip to the NCAA D1 Women’s Soccer Tournament.
- Grambling State’s 15 wins this season is the most in a single season for the program. The four losses are also the least amount of games GSU has lost.
Grambling State now awaits its opponent for the opening round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament. The 2023 DI women’s soccer selection show will be held on Monday at 4 p.m. and will be streamed on NCAA.com.