Southern Conference Women’s Soccer Championship first round
No. 1 Samford 5, No. 8 VMI 0
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The three-time Southern Conference regular-season champion Samford University women’s soccer team scored the game-winning goal 35 seconds into Saturday's quarterfinal round match against the eighth-seeded VMI Keydets as the Bulldogs breezed to a 5-0 victory and advanced to next week's semifinal round of the SoCon Championship.
With the victory, Samford (13-3-2) extended its winning streak to eight consecutive matches and moved on to face fourth-seeded Furman in Friday's final four of the SoCon tournament, which will be hosted next week by ETSU at Summers-Taylor Stadium in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Earlier on Saturday, Furman earned a hard-fought 1-0 overtime victory at home against UNCG.
Samford's opening goal of the match was scored just 35 seconds into the contest as senior Jermaine Seoposenwe lofted a perfectly placed shot just over the goalkeeper from 40 yards out. Seoposenwe's tally proved to be her first of two goals on the night as she increased her Samford-record, single-season total to 16.
Seoposenwe's second goal occurred at exactly 9:01 in the first half and came off a penalty kick. The penalty-kick goal was Seoposenwe's fifth of the season, as the Bulldogs' dynamic native of Cape Town, South Africa, owns a perfect 5-for-5 mark from the dot.
Midway through the first half, senior forward Sara Smeltzer scored her fifth goal of the season in the 31st minute of action. On the score, Smeltzer gathered a crossing pass from Abriella Argueta, stopped in her tracks, allowed the defender to fly by, then turned and rifled home the shot from five yards out.
Argueta, who later scored a goal for the Bulldogs in the second half, finished the contest with three points on the evening. Samford's talented junior from Clarksville, Tennessee, currently boasts six assists and three goals on the season.
The Bulldogs entered the intermission with a 3-0 advantage over VMI (8-12). At the half, Samford held a 13-3 advantage in shot attempts, as well as a 6-0 lead in corner kick attempts.
Taylor Borman, the Bulldogs' senior forward, closed out her final home match in impressive fashion by scoring a goal in the 20th minute of the second half. On the score, her sixth of the season, she collected a through pass from Smeltzer and quickly tapped a shot past VMI's incoming goalkeeper, Ceci Keppeler, who was charging hard to make the stop.
Borman's goal was the 15th of her career.
Samford closed out Saturday's match with 30 shot attempts, 18 of which were goal. VMI's Keppeler tallied 12 saves in the game but also allowed five goals. The Keydets finished the match with seven shot attempts.
The Bulldogs' goalkeepers, Anna Maddox and Katie Peters, both played a half in the contest. Maddox started the match and improved her record to 12-0 on the season, while earning one save. Peters entered the contest in the second half and tallied three key stops in the victory.
With Samford's win against the Keydets on Saturday, the Bulldogs improved to 5-0 all-time against VMI. Samford has not allowed a goal in the series and has outscored the Keydets by a total of 25-0. The Bulldogs also improved to 9-5-4 record in SoCon tournament play.
No. 2 ETSU 2, No. 7 Western Carolina 1
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – For the second time in school history the ETSU women’s soccer team advances to the Southern Conference Championship semifinals, as the second-seeded Buccaneers defeated No. 7 seed Western Carolina, 2-1 on Saturday night inside Summers-Taylor Stadium in a quarterfinals match.
The Bucs received goals from senior Molly Collinson and sophomore Eleonora Goldoni to propel ETSU to its ninth home victory, matching the program record for most home wins in a season.
Overall, ETSU outshot Western Carolina, 12-9 including 6-5 in shots on goal. Collinson led all players with four shots, while Goldoni had three shots, two of which were on goal. In goal, sophomore LeaAnn Cutshall made four saves.
Both teams were on the attack early, as the Catamounts and Buccaneers registered a combined seven shots through the first 10 minutes of play. The blue and gold struck first as Collinson collected her sixth goal of the year to give ETSU the 1-0 lead.
After a turnover by Western Carolina, sophomore Irina Brutsch controlled the ball up the right side and passed the ball to Goldoni streaking in the middle of the box. Goldoni clipped the ball with her back heel and onto the foot of Collinson, who put the ball into the back right corner of the net to give the Bucs the lead.
That was all of the scoring at halftime as the Bucs held a 1-0 lead over the Catamounts through the first 45 minutes of play. In the first half, Western Carolina outshot ETSU 6-5, while ETSU had more corner kicks at 3-0.
In the second half, it was all ETSU as it outshot WCU, 7-3, and held the Catamounts to no shots through the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Western Carolina got on the board in the 73rd minute as an ETSU foul occurred within the box, giving the Catamounts a penalty kick. WCU’s Kasey Cooke rocketed a shot that went into the back right corner of the net and just past the outstretched hands of Cutshall to knot the game up at 1-1.
It’s just the second goal ETSU has allowed at home this season and the first goal allowed in Johnson City since Sept. 16 versus Alabama A&M.
The Bucs responded quickly as Goldoni recorded her 15th goal of the season in the 76th minute to give the Bucs a 2-1 lead. Goldoni raced past two WCU defenders and chipped the ball up to herself inside the box. The Ferrara, Italy, native softly struck the ball from left to right as the ball trickled into the back of the net to give Goldoni the game-winner.
Western Carolina gave a last-ditch effort at the end with back-to-back corner kicks in the final three minutes of play, but the ETSU defense knocked the ball away both times to secure the victory.
ETSU awaits the winner of No. 3 seed Mercer versus No. 6 seed Chattanooga. ETSU’s semifinal match will be played on Friday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. inside Summers-Taylor Stadium.
No. 4 Furman 1, No. 5 UNCG 0 (OT)
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Senior Carlie Couch banked the game-winning goal off the underside of the cross bar just 58 seconds into overtime to lift Furman to a 1-0 victory over UNCG in the quarterfinal round of the Southern Conference Women’s Soccer Championship Saturday afternoon on Seagraves Field at Stone Soccer Stadium.
With the victory, Furman (13-4-1) advances to face No. 1 seed Samford in the semifinals of the SoCon Championship on Friday, Nov. 4, at 5 p.m. at Summers-Taylor Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn. UNCG concludes its season at 7-11-2.
In the opening minute of overtime, Treva Aycock received a pass down the left wing. She passed to Molly Dwyer, who played the ball to Couch at the top of the box. The senior unleashed a shot from 18 yards out that clipped the underside of the bar and landed beyond the goal line before spinning into the side netting at the 90:58 mark to give the Paladins the victory. Couch’s goal marked her 10th of the season and 37th of her career, which leads all active SoCon players.
Furman dominated much of the possession and outshot the Spartans 17-3 on the day, including a 5-3 margin in shots on goal. After the Paladins posted an 8-0 margin in shot attempts in the first half, Aycock nearly provided the breakthrough score in the 51st minute when her effort rattled the cross bar from the right side of the box. Moments later off of a UNCG corner kick, the Spartans’ Regan Lehman had a goal-bound header saved off the line by a Paladin defender and Grace Regal’s follow-up shot was denied by a Paladin block at the line.
Couch hit the cross bar after Rachel Shah forced UNCG’s Chloe Buehler into a save in the 61st minute and Dwyer came close to breaking the tie when Buehler stopped her volley from close range in the 85th minute.
Senior Rose Hull recorded one save to earn her second solo shutout and Furman’s 12th clean sheet in 18 matches this season. The Paladin defense allowed just three total shots to a UNCG squad that had netted four goals it them in an Oct. 2, match in Greensboro, N.C. Buehler turned away four shots in a losing effort for the Spartans.
Friday’s semifinal match will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network with the winner advancing to Sunday’s 1 p.m. championship match in Johnson City, which will be available on ESPN3.