Bobcat soccer won 1-0 over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Senior Day Oct. 21 to walk away with the Sun Belt Conference title, leaving them as the No. 1 seed for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
With Sunday’s victory in hand, Texas State finished regular season play at an overall record of 10-5-2 while CCU fell to 7-7-1. This marked the first conference title win for the program since joining the SBC in 2009, when the Bobcats lost 1-0 to Southeastern Louisiana in the Southland Conference Tournament finals.
With the season’s end, head coach Kat Conner celebrated her 20th season as head coach of the Bobcats and her fifth regular season conference championship win.
“I think it’s still setting in, it’s great to see how our administration knew that we were (going to) win,” Conner said. “They had t-shirts already made for them and when the girls saw that, I think they were just excited that they had people that believed in them and knew that they could win.”
Both teams were scoreless heading into halftime. The first and only goal of the game came from junior forward Kaylee Davis during the second half in the 63rd minute. The goal came off an assist by junior midfielder Jordan Kondikoff.
Senior defender Kelly Barbalias said she knew she had one objective after Davis scored the loan goal of the match; to keep the ball in the opposite half.
“What was going through my mind was just to keep the ball moving forward,” Barbalias said. “We were trying not to let them switch it cause that’s when they would get an attack, so we were trying to force it one way and try to get it up and create an attack and keep it in their half.”
Barbalias, a Woodlands, Texas, native, said winning the regular season title meant years of hard work had finally come to fruition.
“We’ve been working for this for four years and falling short of that has always been hard,” Barbalias said. “It’s sad that this was my last game playing here on our turf but being able to capture this moment, capture the win and the title feels amazing.”
The game was also Senior Day, meant to highlight the Bobcat seniors on the team: defender Jamie Brown and Barbalias
Conner said the win meant a lot to the team and was a cherry on top of the season for this year’s seniors.
“To tell you the truth it makes it extra special when you can win on senior day and win a championship on senior day,” Conner said. “Jamie Brown (tore) her ACL her freshman year (and) Kelly Barbalias has gone through many injuries (throughout her career), so their years of commitment and training throughout these four years has paid off for them.”
Brown said the past four years’ preparation and work have led up to this exact moment.
“This is what we’ve worked hard for the entire season and in my four years,” Brown said. “It just feels great to finally get what we’ve been working for (and) to finally lay it all out there and get the big ring.”
Barbalias said as she leaves the program, she hopes her influence is felt by teammates for years to come.
“I want to be remembered by giving everything for my teammates, whether its making that last run when you’re dead tired or putting in work for your teammates and being someone they (can) lean on,” Barbalias said.
The Bobcats have some time off before the Sun Belt Tournament kicks off next week. Texas State goes in as the No. 1 one seed and will face No. 8 seed Troy University Oct. 31in Foley, Alabama, at the Foley Sports Complex.