GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the eighth time in program history and the first time since 2010, the UNCG women’s soccer team can call itself Southern Conference Tournament Champions as the third-seeded Spartans recorded a 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Western Carolina Sunday afternoon at the Samford Track and Soccer Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.
The Spartans earned the SoCon’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth and will learn their destination for the first round Monday afternoon. The NCAA Selection Show is set for 4:30 p.m. online at NCAA.com with links at www.uncgspartans.com. The victory improves the Spartans to 11-7-3 on the season and runs their winning streak to six-straight games and improves to 6-0-1 over the last seven contests.
Senior defender Regan Lehman (Wilmington, Del./Padua Academy) was named the SoCon Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the Spartans’ defense to two shutouts and just one goal against in 281:12 minutes of play in tournament action.
UNCG placed four on the All-Tournament Team with junior Emily Jensen (Nelson, New Zealand/Santa Clara), sophomore Cienna Rideout (Las Vegas, Nev./Coronado) and junior Heida Ragney Vidarsdottir (Akureyri, Iceland/Carson Newman) joining Lehman on the team. Jensen scored the game-winning goal in Sunday’s championship contest while Rideout scored three goals in the tournament, including two in the Spartans’ semifinal upset over SoCon co-champion Samford Friday night.
Sophomore defender Ashton Duty (Waxhaw, N.C./Cuthbertson) and sophomore forward Kaley Tucker (Littleton, Colo./Thunder Ridge) was named the Pinnacle Award winner, given to the highest cumulative GPA among championship-eligible student-athletes on winning team.
The victory improves UNCG to 8-2-0 mark in all-time in championship game history. The Spartans’ eight tournament titles are the most for any team in the history of the SoCon Tournament, now two more than Furman. Sunday’s victory marks UNCG’s first title since 2010 when the Spartans advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 victory over Samford in Cullowhee.
The Spartans scored the game’s lone goal in the 54th minute of play off of one of their seven corner kicks. Lehman took the corner kick and sent the ball towards the back post. Jensen rose above three Western Carolina defenders and rammed a header off the post and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead and her fifth goal of the season.
UNCG’s defense did the rest along with freshman goalkeeper Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper (Charlottesville, Va./Albermarle), keeping the Catamounts at distance for most of the game. Tyler-Cooper posted seven saves in her eighth shutout of the season and helped keep WCU at bay as the Catamounts posted a 20-7 advantage in shots in the loss.
SoCon Women’s Soccer Championship All-Tournament Team
Emily Jensen, UNCG
Regan Lehman, UNCG
Cienna Rideout, UNCG
Heida Vidarsdottir, UNCG
Jenny Allen, Furman
Virginia Poe, Furman
Kaitlyn Orman, Samford
Jermaine Seoposenwe, Samford
Jacquelyn Gnassi, Western Carolina
Sayres McKenna, Western Carolina
Emily Threatt, Western Carolina
Most Outstanding Player
Regan Lehman, UNCG
-- UNCG --