ABILENE, Texas – Hardin-Simmons' women's soccer team has been here before. Sectional Round. Long travel from Texas to the Northeast. Freezing temperatures.
It falls right into the theme for the Cowgirls, "So what".
For the fourth straight year, the Cowgirls will be on the road in the sectional round and looking for a ticket to the Final Four for the second straight year. The Cowgirls are 18-1-1 on the season and undoubtedly are playing their best soccer of the season. They will take on a talented Misericordia team that is 17-2-1.
"We had to figure the pieces out and it took some time," said 19th year HSU Head Coach Marcus Wood "We were not good early, but we had some talent that we had to get in the right places. I think we are getting better every week and that is a good sign to still be improving and be in the second week of the NCAA Tournament."
HSU advanced with 3-0 wins over Puget Sound and arch-rival Trinity last weekend at home. Misericordia beat Rowan 3-1 and Johns Hopkins 1-0 on a goal in the 89th minute. They had to do it on the road at Johns Hopkins.
"They are very similar to us in the fact that they are a hard-working blue collar team that just grinds out games," said Wood. "We expect a tough challenge but at this point of the year everyone is good. You don't get to the second weekend without being a good team."
HSU has scored 70 goals on the year and have allowed only six tallies. The Cowgirls rely on a strong backline that has been reworked throughout the season.
Sarah Krisa made the move from midfield to center back and Baylee Ford transferred in from Division I Sam Houston State where she was a starter. Mackensie Moreno is a freshman that stepped up and Kendell Groom is the only returner and she does so many things for the Cowgirls out of the back.
They play in front of a talented goalkeeper Caitlin Christiansen, who doesn't see much action but has been stellar in her career in the NCAA Tournament when the level of play goes up.
Offensively, the Cowgirls have also had a change. All-American Kenne Kessler leads the team with 14 goals and seven assists and she has constantly been double and triple teamed.
The game is slated for 12:30 CST on Saturday and the winner will play the winner of Middlebury vs. Swarthmore for the right to go to the Final Four.
The game can be watched at https://www.nsnsports.net/colleges/middlebury/
--- www.hsuathletics.com ---