No. 3 seed UNCG 3, No. 6 seed Western Carolina 1
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG women’s soccer team (9-8-3) is headed to the Southern Conference Championship semifinals for the first time since 2010. The third-seeded Spartans eliminated sixth-seeded Western Carolina (8-8-3) with a 3-1 victory at home Saturday afternoon.
It was the first postseason win for UNCG’s senior class and head coach Michael Coll, who took the reins in 2014.
Western Carolina, which earned the No. 6 seed after posting a 4-2-1 SoCon slate, scored first to take a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute. Kimberly Sullivan scored off a corner kick taken by Amanda Schwartz. Sullivan connected with the kick to tally her fourth goal of the season.
Three minutes later, the Spartans evened the score when Kimberly Shaver scored her first goal of the season. She connected on a through ball from Diarra Simmons and slipped a shot past Lauren Martin in goal.
Chloe Buehler made three saves in the first half, while her WCU counterpart, Martin, tallied the same.
Ten minutes into the second half, senior Chesney White scored the eventual game-winning goal. A long ball from defender Gabi Charles appeared to be off target but White came out of nowhere to toe the ball in, giving UNCG a 2-1 lead.
In the 66th minute, senior Candice Forbes was fed a quick pass from Caylin Prillaman to tally an insurance goal for the Spartans.
The Spartans now lead the all-time series against Western Carolina 18-3-1. The last time UNCG reached the SoCon semifinals in 2010, they went on to win the tournament.
UNCG will face the winner of another SoCon quarterfinal game slated for Sunday, Nov. 1, at 2 p.m. No. 2 Furman (14-4-1) will host No. 7 Wofford (6-7-4) in Greenville, S.C.
No. 4 seed Mercer 3, No. 5 seed ETSU 2
MACON, Ga. – The Mercer University women’s soccer team outlasted ETSU, 3-2, on Saturday night to advance to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Championship.
Fifth-seeded ETSU took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on a goal by freshman Eleonora Goldoni and held on to it until Mercer’s Katelyn Dimopoulos knotted the score, 1-1, in the 43rd minute off a free kick.
Sarah Daane gave the Bears a 2-1 advantage in the 54th minute when her free kick went to the top right corner of the net. Sydney Brogden scored Mercer’s third straight goal in the 76th minute when she took a short shot just outside of the goal off a long pass from Haley McDuffee.
ETSU scored in the 85th minute to cut Mercer’s lead to 3-2, but the Bears held on in the final minutes to defeat the Bucs.
Maggie Cropp made a season-high-tying nine saves, including two on penalty-kick attempts from ETSU. The two goals are the most Cropp has allowed since Aug. 23 at Oklahoma State, as she had not given up more than a single goal in a game in over two months.
Dimopoulos scored her seventh goal of the season, and the 10th of her career, when her free kick went into the back of the net uncontested late in the first half.
Daane netted her third goal of the year, and the sixth of her career, after sending a free kick of her own into the top right corner of the net. Daane fired off four shots, including two on goal, for the night.
Brogden scored her second goal of the season and the 12th of her career when she put Mercer up 3-1 late in the second half. Both of Brogden’s scores this season have been game-winners.
ETSU held an 8-6 advantage in corner kicks, but Mercer led 6-3 in the first half.
With the victory, the Bears notched their ninth consecutive winning season.
Mercer moves to 9-7-3 on the year, while ETSU finished the season at 9-9-1.
No. 4 Mercer advances to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament and will play on Friday, Nov. 6, at 5 p.m. in Greenville, S.C. The Bears No. 1 Samford, a 3-0 winner over No. 9 VMI on Saturday.
No. 1 seed Samford 3, No. 9 seed VMI 0
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – In a wet and rainy contest held at the Samford Track and Soccer Stadium on Saturday, the Samford University soccer team defeated the VMI Keydets, 3-0, to advance to the semifinal round of play in the 2015 Southern Conference tournament.
With the shutout victory, Samford (14-5-0) moved on to face No. 4 seed Mercer in Friday’s semifinal matchup to be held at 4 p.m. (CST) at Furman University’s Stone Soccer Stadium in Greenville, South Carolina. Earlier this season, the Bulldogs tallied a hard-fought 1-0 win at Mercer on Oct. 4.
Samford improved its all-time record to 3-0 against VMI (6-13-2) and upped its SoCon tournament mark to 8-5-3.
Friday’s match took place in a torrential downpour and included an hour-and-24-minute rain delay. Lightning was never detected in the area, but there were a few standing puddles on the field.
Samford’s goals were scored by Anna Allen, Sara Smeltzer and Malcanisha Kelley, while goalkeepers Anna Maddox and Katie Peters combined for the team’s 10th shutout of the season.
Kelley’s score proved to be historic as she tallied her 12th goal of the year and set Samford’s single-season record in the 40th minute. Additionally, Kelley’s goal also set the school’s all-time record in goals scored with 27. Kelley, just a junior, achieved the Bulldogs’ all-time feat in only three seasons.
In the 19th minute, Samford’s Allen was able to break through VMI’s defender-laden back half with a laser from 35 yards out. After gathering a splash-inducing throw-in from Jermaine Seoposenwe, Allen rifled a shot that fit brilliantly into the top left corner of the net. The score was Allen’s first of the season, while Seoposenwe’s assist proved to be the team-leading 11th of the year.
The Bulldogs scored all three of their goals in the first half. Allen’s strike occurred before the extensive rain delay, while Smeltzer’s and Kelley’s happened afterward.
Smeltzer, Samford’s junior forward from Birmingham, tallied her sixth goal of the season in the 29th minute. Her score was assisted by Kelley and increased the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0.
Less than 11 minutes later, Kelley’s record-breaking score occurred after she gathered an errant pass at midfield and breezed by a pair of VMI defender en route to the goal. She stopped short after the Keydets’ goalkeeper Darien Dunham committed to a position and then fired a shot to the opposite side of the net for the goal.
Samford outshot VMI, 22-8, and earned a decisive 7-2 advantage in corner kicks.