#1 UNCG 1, #8 Wofford 0
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Freshman Kristen Schmidbauer scored the biggest goal of her young career as top-seeded and 16th-ranked UNCG downed No. 8 seed Wofford 1-0 in the first round of the Southern Conference Championship on Sunday.
The Spartans ran their winning streak to a school-record 14 matches to improve to 17-1-1 on the season. UNCG will face No. 5 seed Elon on Friday in Cullowhee, N.C., at 5 p.m. The Phoenix downed No. 4 seed College of Charleston on Sunday, 1-0.
Schmidbauer gave UNCG the only goal it would need on the day in the ninth minute, with a trio of freshmen combining on the score. When the Spartans drew their first corner of the day, freshman Stine Schoening sent a ball into the box that classmate Morgan Kennedy nodded toward the goal. The pass found Schmidbauer right in front of the goal and the rookie pushed it home for her eighth tally of the season.
That's where the school would stay the rest of the day, as the Terriers (7-8-4) would manage just two shots on the contest, both of which came in the second half.
UNCG had its chances to add on, but ran up against some tough luck and solid defending. The Spartans took 17 shots on the afternoon, putting seven of them on frame. UNCG's best scoring chances came within seconds of each other in the second half, as Kaytee O'Brien's close-range shot was cleared off the line by Wofford midfielder Anne Phillips and Cat Barnekow's follow shot drew iron on the left post.
Wofford was held without a shot in the first half, but did have a solid scoring opportunity about midway through the frame. Chelsea Ashworth found a streaking Emily Bougas with a through ball that split the UNCG defense, leaving Ashworth one-on-one with keeper Kelsey Kearney. Kearney came out and made a nice sliding clearance at the top of the 18-yard box to prevent the open-net goal.
The Terriers' first shot came in the 52nd minute, when Sydney Reed's header on a corner kick went wide. Wofford's only other shot came in the 70th minute, when Rachael Blackburn sent a long-range attempt in from the left wing on frame. Kearney was there to make the easy grab to keep the Terriers off the board.
In addition to limiting Wofford to just two shots on the afternoon, UNCG's starting back line of Schoening, Kennedy, Katie Evans and Nicole Danford held the Terriers to just two corner kicks, as well. UNCG took eight.
Kearney picked up the shutout with one save on the afternoon. The shutout was her 10th of the season, tied for third-most in a single season in school history. It was also the 29th of her career, giving her sole possession of second place in SoCon history.
Wofford keeper Kimberly Cohn finished with five saves and allowed just the one goal.
The win puts the Spartans into the SoCon semifinals for the 11th straight season and 13th overall in the Spartans' 14 seasons in the league. UNCG improved to 11-1-1 all-time in quarterfinal-round games.
"When you get to the conference tournament, it's like the World Cup," UNCG coach Eddie Radwanski said. "You want to win and advance. Our girls did a very solid job today. We didn't really concede any scoring opportunities to our opponent. We got our goal, obviously we took a lot shots, had some good opportunities, but Wofford, to their credit, they defended well. They weren't going to come in here and lay down."
UNCG's senior class of Evans, Jenn Partenheimer and Jen Rincon also became the winningest class in school history. The trio improved to 62-17-5 in their careers, surpassing the 61 wins the 1998 senior class amassed.
UNCG also completed the first undefeated home slate in school history. The Spartans went 9-0-0 at UNCG Soccer Stadium this season.
Friday's contest will be a rematch of the regular-season finale for UNCG and Elon. The teams squared off in Elon, N.C., on Thursday, with the Phoenix jumping out to an early lead with a goal in the first minute of play before the Spartans scored a pair of second-half goals to rally for the 2-1 win.
The teams have met in the SoCon tournament just two other times, with UNCG taking wins in 2006 and 2007.
#3 The Citadel 2, #6 Furman 1 (2 OT)
Charleston, S.C. - The Citadel Soccer team downed Furman in a double overtime bout with a 2-1 decision to advance to the Southern Conference Women's Soccer Championship semifinals.
After a scoreless draw in the first half, the Bulldogs set their offensive attack early in the second period. At the 49:27 mark, freshman Mariana Garcia took the first shot, but the kick went wide. Still in possession, The Citadel took a corner kick at the 51:42 mark that set freshman Vanessa Aponte up for the shot, but the kick was blocked by a Paladin defender. The Cadets earned another corner kick at the 52:10 mark. Senior Nicole Martinoli's kick sailed in the middle of the box giving Aponte another look at the goal. Jessica Smith finished the play with a diving save to the ground. The ball then bounced off Smith's hand giving the Bulldogs another opportunity, which freshman Jillian Meyer found and connected with the net giving The Citadel a 1-0 lead.
Down by a score, Furman never gave up immediately attacking the goal at the 55:49 mark. Chelsea McKie took a hard shot, but the kick went wide left. The Paladins regained possession of the ball when Catie Moore took a shot at the 65:22 mark, but junior Whitney Nave earned a stop for the Bulldogs. Maintaining the pressure, Rachel Shelnutt took a shot just seconds later and again Nave came up with the save. After a yellow card was given to Garcia at the 70:42 mark, Furman's Dee Makris passed the ball to the right side of the box where she found Ellen Moore who put it into the left side of the net to tie the match at one all.
Both squads fought hard to give their team a victory in the remainder of regulation but neither was successful sending the match into overtime.
Furman took sole possession of the first overtime period, taking four shots and limiting the Bulldogs to none. The Paladins' first scoring opportunity came when Shelnutt took a header, but the ball went wide. The Paladins kept pounding at the Bulldogs' net as Ashley Creavalle took a shot two minutes later but the play also finished with the same result. With seconds left on the clock, Hall and Laura White each took a shot but the Cadets stopped the Paladins on both plays with blocks, forcing a second overtime period.
The match took a turn when seconds after Shelnutt's shot went wide, Bulldogs' head coach Bob Winch was penalized with his second yellow card and ejected from the game. Without their head coach on the sidelines, The Citadel took possession of the ball. Martinoli took consecutive corner kicks for the Bulldogs, with Aponte finding the second kick. She passed it to Martinoli who took a shot, but it was blocked in the air with a Paladin hand ball, awarding the Bulldogs a free kick. With 1:49 left in the final overtime period, Aponte took the kick and the ball skipped into the bottom of the net giving the Bulldogs the 2-1 match victory.
"Furman is a very good team. I think we had some mental breakdowns last game. This game I think we had a lot more heart and fight and that is what made the difference today," said assistant coach Jamie Stewart. "We are going to have to come down from this. The girls are exhausted. We will give them some rest tomorrow and then get back at it. Going up there is brand new, so they have absolutely nothing to lose. I think our girls have a lot of heart. Coming from The Citadel they have a lot of structure and a lot of leadership, and I think that is really going to play a part in Friday's upcoming match."
With the win, the Bulldogs have advanced to the semifinal round and will play the winner of today's Samford/Davidson match on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The semifinal and final rounds of the SoCon Women's Soccer Championship tournament will be played in Cullowhee, N.C. on Western Carolina's campus.
#5 Elon 1, #4 College of Charleston 0
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - The College of Charleston women's soccer team fell, 1-0, to Elon in the opening round of the Southern Conference Tournament at Patriots Point on Sunday afternoon.
The Cougars end the season at 9-10-1 (6-4-1 SoCon). Elon improves to 12-7-1 (6-5-1 SoCon) and advances to the semifinals in Cullowhee, N.C.
CofC was the more offensive-minded team and created a lopsided 16-4 shot advantage. Elon was content to possess and keep players behind the ball until the opportunity to strike presented itself.
"As soon as we were paired with Elon we knew we were in for a very tight match," said head coach Christian Michner. "They do an excellent job of putting people behind the ball and making it difficult to move forward.
"We created a ton of chances and took a ton of shots but couldn't get the ball in the back of the net. We gave them one good opportunity and they capitalized on it. That's soccer."
The goal came in the 65th minute when a failed clearance sent Elon on a two-on-one break towards the Cougar goal. Chelsey stark dribbled into the top of the box and fed a late pass to Simi Dhaliwal who had held her run to stay onside and scored to the upper-left corner of the goal.
The goal was the first the Cougars have allowed in four matches.
The Cougars also had a 7-2 corner-kick advantage and threatened severely on several of the set-piece plays but could not get the ball over the goal line.
"It's a tough way to end the season but we're tough and we'll get better," said Michner. "I know this team will learn from it and we will win championships in the near future."
#2 Samford 1, #7 Davidson 1 (2 OT)
Samford advances on penalty kicks, 4-3
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- The Samford University soccer team advanced to the semifinal round of the 2010 Southern Conference Tournament in dramatic fashion Sunday as the Bulldogs won a penalty-kick shootout 4-3 against the Davidson Wildcats in the final match to be played at Bulldog Field. The teams played to a 1-1 draw through the opening 110 minutes of the thrilling SoCon matchup.
"I thought that our players played very well tonight," said Samford head coach Todd Yelton. "They fought hard against a team that is extremely difficult to score against. Greg (Ashton) always has them very well organized he's done a great job with that program. We are very happy to survive and move on to the next round."
With the draw, Samford (12-5-3) advanced to the semifinal round of the SoCon Tournament where the Bulldogs will square off against The Citadel on Friday at 6:30 p.m. (CDT). The championship rounds of the postseason tournament will be held at Western Carolina University.
Friday's opening round match of the SoCon Tournament came down to a decisive penalty-kick shootout. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in regulation and then to scoreless periods in both overtime frames.
Davidson won the coin toss and elected to shoot second in the penalty-kick shootout. Samford's Paige Lanter took the first attempt, but Davidson's goalkeeper Jessie Baxa made a diving save. The Wildcats' Julie Calhoun then rifled her attempt past Whitehead to take a 1-0 lead.
In the second round, the Bulldogs' Leah Leppert sent a laser before Davidson's Elizabeth Underwood missed the goal completely. With the score knotted at 1-1, Samford closed out the penalty-kick shootout with consecutive goals from Collette Nammour, Sarah Wilkinson and Trine Taule.
The Wildcats received back-to-back goals from Allison Drutchas and Rachael Newmister, before Rachel Barnett came to the line for the final attempt with Davidson trailing 4-3.
On the shootout-tying attempt, Barnett charged the ball and rifled a shot to the left corner of the net. The goal would have sent the teams into a second shootout frame, but the ball caromed off the left post and back towards the line. With the miss, Samford's bench cleared and the entire team met near midfield to celebrate the shootout victory.
"I told our players before the shootout that no matter what happens I was extremely proud of them," Yelton said. "I didn't want to lose and I wanted us to continue going in this season, but that no matter what happened, I thought they gave us great effort tonight. Penalty kicks are such a cruel way to end a season and we know that by how our season ended last year against College of Charleston. This was a really hard-fought match and it is definitely one that we are very fortunate to get through."
Davidson (6-8-6) concluded its 2010 campaign with back-to-back draws and moved to 1-0-3 against Samford. The Wildcats were the reigning SoCon Tournament champions.
The Bulldogs opened Sunday's scoring with a goal from Lanter in the 59th minute of play. The score was Lanter's fourth of the season and was assisted by Taule.
Davidson evened the score of the match at 1-1 with less than 10 minutes to play in regulation. At exactly 80:53, the Wildcats' Newmister tallied her second goal of the season to equalize the contest at a goal apiece. Newmister's score was assisted by Drutchas.
"If I'm not mistaken, Davidson has scored 17 of their 19 goals by a set-piece, a penalty kick or a corner kick, so they obviously have that aspect of their offensive attack figured out. Against them, a lead is never safe and we actually had a couple of chances to go up 2-0, but we just missed on some close shot attempts. At the end of the day, we're just very happy to still be alive in the tournament."
Davidson's goalkeeper Baxa finished the contest with five saves, while Samford's goalkeeper Alyssa Whitehead tallied a pair of key stops.
"I thought that Colette (Nammour) was fantastic for us tonight," Yelton said. "I also thought that Paige Lanter had her best match of the year. She played all 110 minutes for us and she was getting up and down the flank, so those were the two players that really stood out for me tonight, but we also had a lot of players that were great.
Sunday's match marked the final contest to be held at the 14-year-old Bulldog Field. Next season, Samford will move to the brand-new Samford Soccer Complex, which will be opening in the spring of 2011.
In their highly successful time at Bulldog Field, Samford compiled an impressive 83-30-17 record at home. Since Yelton took over the reins to the Bulldogs' program in 2002, Samford has rattled off a remarkable 58-13-14 record at home.
The Samford University soccer team will next be in action Friday at 6:30 p.m. (CDT) as the second-seeded Bulldogs square off against the third-seeded The Citadel Bulldogs in the semifinal round of the 2010 SoCon Tournament. The matchup will be held at the Catamount Athletic Complex in Cullowhee, N.C.