SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference Women’s Soccer Championship moves to the Samford University Track & Soccer Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama, this weekend for the semifinal and final matches, beginning Friday at 5 p.m. Central. For the fourth straight season, each of the top four seeds advanced to the championship weekend, with Furman, Samford, UNCG and Western Carolina battling for the tournament title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.
Both of Friday’s semifinal matches will air live on the SoCon Digital Network, while Sunday’s championship match, slated for 1 p.m. Central, will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Jason Patterson (play-by-play) and Phil Cox (analyst) will have the call for all three games.
Tickets for this weekend’s games can be purchased from the Samford Box Office (205-726-DOGS) or at the stadium entrance beginning one hour prior to each day’s competition. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 4-12 years old. Children 3 and under, as well as students with a valid SoCon school ID, will be admitted for free.
Top seeds Furman (13-2-2, 8-0-1 SoCon) and Samford (13-5-2, 8-0-1) will both look to extend lengthy unbeaten streaks in the semifinals. The top-seeded Paladins and second-seeded Bulldogs each brought double-digit winning streaks and unblemished SoCon records into their regular-season finale on Oct. 22 but played to a scoreless draw to share the regular-season title. Furman claimed the No. 1 seed by virtue of its goal differential in conference play, as the Paladins scored 20 goals in league games and conceded just one.
Now riding a 12-match unbeaten streak after its 2-1 quarterfinal win over eighth-seeded ETSU, Furman will be seeking its seventh SoCon tournament title and first since 2015. The Paladins, helmed the 2017 SoCon Coach of the Year Andrew Burr, will take on No. 4 seed Western Carolina (8-9-2, 4-4-1) in Friday’s first semifinal match. The Catamounts, who topped No. 5 seed VMI 1-0 in the quarterfinals last weekend and have won three straight games, are in the semifinals for the first time since 2008, when they won the last of their two titles.
Furman claimed a 2-1 win over Western Carolina in overtime during the regular season, benefitting from an own goal in the 93rd minute. The Paladins and Catamounts have met four times in SoCon tournament play, with Furman taking quarterfinal-round wins in 1999, 2003 and 2013 and Western Carolina earning a 1-0 win in 2005 in the final for its first title.
Defending tournament champion Samford, which won at least a share of the regular-season title for the fourth straight season, faces No. 3 seed UNCG (9-7-3, 5-2-2) in Friday’s second semifinal, at 7:30 p.m. Central. The Bulldogs bring a 13-match unbeaten streak into the contest after their 5-0 win over No. 7 seed Mercer in the quarterfinals and boast two-time SoCon Player of the Year Jermaine Seoposenwe and 2017 SoCon Defensive Player of the Year Allie Lourie. Samford, which also won the tournament in 2011, is in the semifinals for the fifth straight season and the ninth time in 10 seasons in the league.
UNCG, unbeaten in its last five contests, is in the semifinals for the 14th time in its history. The Spartans, who have won seven tournament titles, and Samford have met in the tournament just once, with UNCG taking a 1-0 win the 2010 title match, a victory and title that were later vacated.
The Bulldogs claimed a 2-0 win in Birmingham during the regular season, getting a pair of late second-half goals.
The four squads in the semifinals have combined to win 17 of the 23 tournaments contested so far.
The winner of this year’s tournament will receive the SoCon’s automatic bid to the NCAA postseason. The NCAA Selection Show will air on NCAA.com on Monday, Nov. 6, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.
2017 SoCon Women’s Soccer Championship
Oct. 25 (Wednesday)
First round (at higher seeds)
Match 1: No. 8 ETSU 5, No. 9 Wofford 0
Match 2: No. 7 Mercer 3, No. 10 The Citadel 0
Oct. 28 (Saturday)
Quarterfinal round (at higher seeds)
Match 5: No. 2 Samford 5, No. 7 Mercer 0
Match 6: No. 3 UNCG 2, No. 6 Chattanooga 0
Oct. 29 (Sunday)
Quarterfinal round (at higher seeds)
Match 3: No. 1 Furman 2, No. 8 ETSU 1
Match 4: No. 4 Western Carolina 1, No. 5 VMI 0
Nov. 3 (Friday)
Semifinals (Samford University Track & Soccer Stadium; Birmingham, Ala.)
Match 7: No. 1 Furman vs. No. 4 Western Carolina, 5 p.m. CT (SoCon Digital Network)
Match 8: No. 2 Samford vs. No. 3 UNCG, 7:30 p.m. CT (SoCon Digital Network)
Nov. 5 (Sunday)
Final (Samford University Track & Soccer Stadium; Birmingham, Ala.)
Match 9: Winner Match 7 vs. Winner Match 8, 1 p.m. CT (ESPN3)