GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG women’s soccer team celebrated the careers of four seniors Sunday afternoon but a sophomore turned in a career-best performance as Cienna Rideout (Las Vegas, Nev./Coronado) scored three goals to lift the Spartans to a dominating 4-0 victory over The Citadel in the regular season finale at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
The victory improves the Spartans to 8-7-3 overall on the season and 5-2-2 in Southern Conference play as UNCG has secured the No. 3 seed in the upcoming tournament. The Spartans earned a first round bye in the tournament and will host sixth-seeded Chattanooga Saturday, October 28 at 7 p.m. in the SoCon Tournament quarterfinals.
Prior to the game, the Spartans honored their senior class in Chloe Buehler (Perrysburg, Ohio/Penn State), Hanna Hoeksema (Auckland, New Zealand), Regan Lehman (Wilmington, Del./Padua Academy) and Melanie Spensiero (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic).
Rideout, who entered the game with one goal this year, scored three goals in the second half to post the hat trick. She opened the scoring in the 48th minute of play. Sophomore defender Emily Stump (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing) sent a long ball into the 18-yard box where Rideout and The Citadel goalkeeper Kaeley Johnston both went up for the ball. Rideout was about to beat the goalkeeper to the ball and flick it into the empty net for the 1-0 lead.
Rideout scored her second of the game just 1:47 later, this time scoring an unassisted goal. She pressured The Citadel defender and forced a turnover, sending herself in alone against Johnston. Rideout calmly beat Johnston with the low show for the 2-0 lead.
The Spartans kept the attack going as they out-shot The Citadel 20-7 in the game. UNCG was awarded a free kick just inside the midfield line in the 56th minute. Lehman took the free kick and sent it into the box where freshman Quiqui Hita (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep) flicked it on to the back post. Junior defender Emily Jensen (Nelson, New Zealand/Santa Clara) was all alone on the back post and was able to bring the ball down and fire it past Johnston for her team-leading fourth goal of the year and a 3-0 lead.
Rideout capped the three-goal performance in the 83rd minute, shortly after she returned to the game. Spensiero this time set up the play as she sent a long ball that sprung Rideout behind the defense. She took her first touch behind the back line and blasted it into the bottom corner for the hat trick and the 4-0 lead.
Buehler picked up her 16th career shutout in the victory for the Spartans, making three saves in 90 minutes of action. The win was the 23rd of her career and the first this season for the senior starting on senior day. Johnston posted five saves in the loss for the Bulldogs.
-- UNCG --