Arkansas-Pine Bluff claims SWAC tournament title
ALEXANDRIA, LA - The University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored three goals in the second half to blow open a scoreless game en route to a 3-0 win in the championship final of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament. With the win, UAPB (16-4-1) claimed the SWAC crown and earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Tournament which begins next weekend (Nov. 12-13). The tournament field will be announced on Monday.
The trio of Silvia Fuentes, Rachel Harker and Nicole Parks Powell combined to break the scoreless tie in the 51st minute. Harker started the break down the right sideline. She pushed the ball ahead to Fuentes who beat an MVSU defender and fired a pass across the box where Parks-Powell was slicing to the goal. She split of MVSU defenders and beat Devilette's goalkeeper Shelby Willcocks for the goal.
Later in the half, the Lady Lions put the game out of reach with a pair of quick strikes. First, after being fouled in the box, Reaghan Zilkie was awarded a penalty kick. She blasted a shot past Willcocks in the 68th minute (67:55), giving UAPB a 2-0 lead. Two minutes later, Fuentes put the icing on the championship cake, taking a pass from Parks-Powell and going top shelf over Willcocks. Molly Stone also had an assist on the play as UAPB took a 3-0 lead.
As with the entire tournament, UAPB dominated on offense, outshooting MVSU 22-3. The Lady Lions had 10 shots-on-goal, while the Devilettes had one. It was the only on-goal shot against UAPB for the weekend.
Fuentes was named tournament Most Valuable Player. She was joined on the All-SWAC tournament team by Harker, Parks-Powell and Erika Forbes. Also being named to the All-Tournament team, Cassandra Russo, Hailey Beekman and Willcocks of MVSU, Katherine Sheppard and Angie Guillery of Prairie View A&M and Sarah Forde and Alexa Miles from Southern University.