A play that went almost from goal line to goal line resulted in the winning score as Sam Houston defeated Nicholls State 1-0 in a Southland Conference women's soccer match Friday night at Joseph Pritchett Field.

Bearkat goalkeeper Michell McCullough started the play with a long punt into Nicholls' end of the field. Forward Kirby Zak headed the ball up to Tricia Mallory who dribbled past the last defender and right-footed a shot into the back of the Colonels' net.

The goal in the 56th minute of the contest kept Sam Houston in the hunt for a berth in the 2011 Southland Conference post-season tournament in Natchitoches, La., as the Bearkats upped their season mark to 8-9-1 and their league record to 4-3.

Defender Amanda Biega came up with a victory-saving play two minutes later as Colonel forward Melissa Pestalozzi took a loose ball McCullough could not control and had a wide open net at which to shoot. Biega save the ball off the goal line to stop the scoring opportunity.

Sam Houston had several other scoring opportunities, out-shooting the Colonels 20 to 8. Emily Edenstrom hit the right post in the 15th minute and Zak had a pair of open shots just miss wide.

Nicholls goalkeeper Molly Mersereau was credited with nine saves while McCullough had two.

Mallory's goal was the seventh of the season for the sophomore and the 18th of her career, tying her for fourth in all-time goal scoring for Sam Houston State.

The Bearkats will complete their 2011 home schedule Sunday at Pritchett Field at 1 p.m. when Sam Houston plays host to Southeastern Louisiana. The regular season ends for SHSU with a road game next Friday at Stephen F. Austin.