By Don Gilmore, Assistant SID
This is what four years of experience looks like.
This is how all-conference players are expected to produce in the postseason.
Combining for all five goals, the TMU senior trio of Hailey Gomillion, Kellian Ahearn, and Lynnae George led a second-half attack on the Arizona Christian goal that rallied the Mustangs past the Firestorm 5-2 in a GSAC Tournament first-round match on a warm Saturday afternoon at Reese Field.
The victory vaulted the Mustangs (13-5-1) into a tournament semi-final match next Thursday against 12th-ranked Westmont.
Just days after being selected All-GSAC for the second year in a row, Gomillion struck early for the Mustangs, scoring from five yards out on a cross from fellow senior Jasmine Logan just 1:22 into play.
That narrowest of margins lasted just over three minutes because ACU’s Braxton Carhart evened the match at the 4:26 mark with a shot that bounced off the left post and into the net.
Then, the offenses took some time off and the defenses regrouped.
The match stayed even until the 26th minute (25:20) when Carhart unlocked the tie, finding the bouncing ball in the box and putting it past TMU keeper Lacey Lehman for a 2-1 lead that the Firestorm took into the break.
It was a disappointing spot for the Mustangs to be in considering a 10-2 shot advantage over the first 45 minutes.
They would continue to pepper the Firestorm goal with shots in the second half and with prolific results.
Again, Gomillion provided the early spark.
She and her teammates got some help from an ACU foul in the box and Gomillion converted the match-tying penalty kick with a shot to the lower right corner of the net at 47:19 to knot the game at 2-2.
Gomillion’s second goal of the afternoon and her seventh of the season was the beginning of a scoring barrage.
Less than two minutes later (49:04), Gomillion was at it again with a little help from a teammate.
Kyndel Borman’s shot was saved by ACU goalie Kiyana Lopez and then deflected to Gomillion, who finished it for a hat trick and a 3-2 Mustang lead.
There would be no response from the Firestorm this time while the Mustangs rode the momentum of the two Gomillion goals to increase their advantage.
Kellian Ahearn was the first to take advantage of that, collecting her own rebound and firing it past Lopez at the 61:44 mark to double the Mustang lead.
It was the All-GSAC performer’s fifth goal of the year.
Another all-conference choice sealed the victory.
Fittingly, the match’s final goal came off the foot of Lynnae George, the program’s first-ever, four-time All-GSAC selection.
George made it a 5-2 game in the match’s 67th minute (66:13) with a shot from eight yards out after receiving a pass from Sierra Carrasco.
George’s goal was her fifth of the campaign.
A whopping 21-3 shot advantage led to the club’s third-highest scoring output of the season.
Now, the Mustangs turn their attention to a highly-ranked Westmont squad that beat them 2-0 three weeks ago and finished second in the GSAC’s regular season.
Next Thursday’s match will kick off at 11:00am at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.