SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The 2012 Southern Conference Women’s Soccer Championship shifts to Birmingham, Ala., for the semifinals and championship this weekend at the Samford Track and Soccer Stadium.
Upsets ruled the day in Sunday’s first-round action, as three of the top four seeds went down at home. Only No. 3 seed Furman (15-3-2, 7-2-2 SoCon) escaped unscathed, as the Paladins defeated No. 6 seed Davidson 3-2 to reach the semifinals for the 13th time in the last 15 seasons and 16th time overall. Furman, led by SoCon Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year Stephanie DeVita, will face No. 7 seed College of Charleston in Friday’s second contest, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Central time.
In a rematch of last season’s title game, the Cougars (7-11-1, 5-5-1) earned a measure of revenge by knocking out tournament host and No. 2 seed Samford in the first round, 2-1. Freshman Michaela Hermann sent the Cougars through to the next round, scoring her second goal of the season in the 84th minute to break a 1-1 deadlock. College of Charleston will be making its third semifinals appearance in the last four seasons and will be looking for its second straight trip to the championship match.
Furman and CofC have met in the SoCon tournament four times, with Furman winning all four previous meetings. The teams played in the 2002 title match, with Furman taking a 3-0 win. Furman will be seeking its fifth title, while College of Charleston is looking for its first.
No. 5 seed Elon (7-8-6, 4-3-4) sprung the upset on No. 4 seed Appalachian State in the first round, getting a Jaclyn Wood goal in the 33rd minute and letting keeper Kate Murphy and the Phoenix defense do the rest as Elon hung on for the 1-0 win. The Phoenix, led by SoCon Coach of the Year Chris Neal, will be making its second semifinals appearance in the last three seasons. Elon will take on No. 8 seed Georgia Southern on Friday at 5 p.m. Central time.
The Eagles (9-7-4, 4-6-1), who qualified for the tournament on the last day of the regular season, pulled off the biggest first-round shocker, earning their second straight trip to the semifinals with a 1-0 win over top-seeded UNCG in Greensboro, N.C., last weekend. Georgia Southern picked up the win in thrilling fashion, getting a breakaway goal from freshman Nora El-Shami in the 89th minute to knock out the Spartans in the first round for the second straight year.
Elon and Georgia Southern have never met in the SoCon tournament. They will both be seeking their first titles.
The tournament winner earns the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.
Both semifinal matches will be available live for FREE on SoConTV
2012 SoCon Women’s Soccer Championship
Semifinals, Friday, Nov. 2
Semifinal 1: No. 8 seed Georgia Southern vs. No. 5 seed Elon, 5 p.m. CT (SoConTV)
Semifinal 2: No. 7 seed College of Charleston vs. No. 3 seed Furman, 7:30 p.m. CT (SoConTV)
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 4
Winner of Semifinal 1 vs. winner of Semifinal 2, 1 p.m. CT (ESPN3)