Rojas gives UTSA first Southland Conference Championship

Freshman Maria Jose Rojas’ goal in the fourth minute of overtime gave third-seeded UTSA a 1-0 victory against Southland Conference Regular Season Champion Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday in the league’s postseason tournament championhip match. The Roadrunners (13-7-2), in their fifth season, claimed their inaugural Southland title.

“Our depth paid off today,” head coach Steve Ballard said. “In the end, I just thought we wore them down a bit. Southeastern has been a great Southland Champion, but we’re glad to take over the throne.

Both defenses surrendered few opportunities in regulation.

The Lady Lions (15-3-3) managed eight shots in the first half, while UTSA recorded five and each had just one on goal.

The Roadrunners nearly struck in the 57th minute when Southeastern goalkeeper Lacey Bockhaus left her position to chase a loose ball. She was unable to come up with it, which allowed junior Taylor Padia to pass the ball to senior Allison Dillon, but her shot was blocked.

UTSA outshot the Lady Lions, 11-5, in the second stanza but was unable to find the back of the net and the match went to overtime.

The Birds didn’t waste time in the extra frame, as Padia placed a perfect pass along the left side, giving Rojas a one-on-one opportunity in the fourth minute of extra time. The Santiago, Chile, native beat Bockhaus, the Southland Co-Player of the Year, sending UTSA to its first NCAA Tournament.

“We had a game plan and stuck to it and just beat a team we never have beaten before,” sophomore goalie Dacia Webb said.

Webb was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after recording her second shutout of the tournament and she allowed just one goal in nearly 294 minutes of action (19 saves). Senior Chelsea Zimmerman, junior Katie Dugan and freshmen Anka Grotle joined Rojas on the All-Tournament Team.

“It was a total team effort,” Grotle said. “It was a very physical game, but we played great and this is an incredible feeling.”