Lucas bags a hat trick for the Cougars in AMC tournament semifinal victory | Other Sports

Lucas bags a hat trick for the Cougars in AMC tournament semifinal victory | Other Sports

Columbia College freshman forward Macie Lucas netted a hat trick for the top-seeded Cougars in their 5-1 American Midwest Conference Women’s Soccer Championship semifinal victory against No. 4 seed Missouri Baptist.

On Lucas’ first goal, she received Jewel Morelan’s pass, rushed to the goal, then slotted home an easy scoring chance to the right of Spartans goalkeeper Hanna Harrison.

“Macie was so good,” Columbia coach John Klein said. “She was just running at them all night.”

Lucas netted her second goal at the 57th minute after a solid string of passes, with Isabella Govero providing the assist.

From Columbia’s side of the pitch, Grace Winegar passed a through-ball that made its way to Lucas. With Missouri Baptist’s defense behind her, Lucas rushed to the goal for her third score of the night.

“Macie just needed to run by a girl or two and do something on her own,” Klein said. “You know, she’s been creating like that all year long and had a couple of games where she was just a little bit unlucky, but she’s settling in.”

Senior Madie Gentry scored a sublime long-distance volley for the Spartans’ only goal of the night. Her goal was the first of the match, giving Missouri Baptist the lead at the 14th minute.

The Spartans’ lead didn’t last for long, as Morelan responded with an easy chip for goal 25 seconds later to tie the game up at 1-1.

“They (Missouri Baptist) were believing in themselves (after taking the lead), but it was just a matter of settling in and continuing to do what we do or what the girls do,” Klein said.

Columbia was up 2-1 on the Spartans at halftime.

The Cougars had far more chances in the first half with nine shots to Missouri Baptist’s one.

Not only did Columbia have more shots, it had nine corner kicks, while the Spartans only had one.

“We did go over the set piece, the corner kicks at halftime, we wanted the girls to be a little more aggressive in their movements,” Klein said.

While the Cougars couldn’t capitalize on any corners in the first 45 minutes, they scored on their first set piece in the second half.

Greta Haarmann headed home a corner kick from Emilia Zolesio for Columbia’s fifth and final goal of the match.

“Greta got to the spot,” Klein said. “Emilia was putting those in good places all night.”

Playing with a more aggressive intent and finishing off a set piece, the Cougars had a splendid second half. Columbia scored three goals on 11 shots, while the Spartans were unable to get a shot on goal.

Last time the Cougars and Missouri Baptist met Oct. 30 in St. Louis, Columbia won by the same 5-1 score.

“They try to play good soccer, but our pressure is just so effective, “ Klein said. “And it’s hard to play through us, we win a lot of balls.”

The Cougars’ semifinal victory means they will play in their seventh straight AMC tournament final.

“That combination of Jewel and Macie is just really dangerous and one that I’m hoping takes us to the final site of the national tournament,” Klein said.

Columbia plays No. 2 seed Harris-Stowe State at 6 p.m. Thursday at Marvin Owens Field.

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