No. 4 Davidson eliminates No. 1 UNCG in SoCon semifinals
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Davidson's Lauren Conner scored in the 19th minute and the fourth-seeded Wildcats withstood UNC Greensboro's second-half push to eliminate the top-seeded Spartans in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Women's Soccer Championship on Friday night, 1-0.
In the earlier semifinal, No. 2 College of Charleston and No. 3 Samford played to a 0-0 draw. The Cougars prevailed in penalty kicks, 6-5, to advance to Sunday's final.
The Spartans finished the year with a 13-7 overall record and went 9-2 in the league to win their fourth straight regular-season title.
Conner notched her second game-winning goal of the season against UNCG, as the senior also tallied the decisive strike in Davidson's 2-1 win over the Spartans on Oct. 2.
The Wildcats got the only goal they would need at the 18:34 mark. Blakely Low fired a shot on frame that UNCG keeper Alex Perry saved but could not corral. Kyri Bye-Nagel pounced on the rebound at the left touchline and lofted a pass back into the box for Conner, who headed in what would prove to be the game-winner.
The Spartans dominated the second half, keeping the ball in Davidson's defensive half for most of the stanza. But UNCG could not get a shot to go despite holding a 14-1 advantage in shots in the second frame.
UNCG threatened several times in the contest. Senior Kelly Attayek nearly got the Spartans on the board in the eighth minute, taking a shot from the left corner of the 6-yard box that sailed just inches high. Jenn Partenheimer and Jaimey Etten forced saves from Davidson keeper Jessie Baxa in the first half.
UNCG held a 5-4 advantage in shots at the break, but cranked up its offensive intensity after the half.
Kristin Player had a solid look in the 60th minute, taking a pass from Etten at the corner of the 18-yard box, but her shot was saved by Baxa.
Five minutes later, Partenheimer corralled a Player pass and sent a left-footed strike that went just wide. The Spartans continued to pressure the Wildcat defense, as Cat Barnekow's shot in the 68th minute found the crossbar and bounced out of danger.
In the 77th minute, Player played a ball over the top of the Davidson defense that caught freshman Tabitha Padgett in stride. Padgett had a chance at a breakaway, but a Wildcat defender stepped in and broke up the play at the last second.
The Spartans' last great scoring opportunity came with 8:31 left, as Partenheimer took a pass from Barnekow at the top of the box and ripped a shot wide right.
Partenheimer finished with a game-high seven shots, two of which were on frame. Padgett, the SoCon's Co-Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, was held without a shot.
Baxa picked up her third shutout of the season with seven saves on the evening. Perry, who started her first game of the season in relief of injured All-SoCon Second Team keeper Kelsey Kearney, turned in a solid showing with one goal allowed and two saves.
UNCG finished with a 19-5 shot advantage. Corner kicks were even at four apiece.
In the first game of the evening, College of Charleston keeper Katie Tate saved Samford's sixth penalty kick attempt to put the Cougars in position to advance. Morgan Benz stepped up and netted her shot, sending CofC into the final for the first time since 2002. The Cougars will battle Davidson for their first SoCon tournament title.
Davidson last appeared in the title game in 2005 and has not won it since taking three straight from 1994-96.
Samford (12-1-5) vs. Coll. of Charleston (12-6-2)
Date: Nov 06, 2009 Attendance: 106
Weather: 56 degrees and sunny
period 1 2 OT O2 SO Tot
Samford 0 0 0 0 0 0
Coll. of Charleston 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samford: 14/Y 18/Y 26/Y 4/Y 3/Y 22/N
Coll. of Charleston: 6/Y 20/Y 4/Y 7/Y 10/Y 12/Y
Coll. of Charleston wins shootout 6-5
Shots: Samford 8, Coll. of Charleston 13
Saves: Samford 2 (Alyssa Whitehead 2), Coll. of Charleston 4 (Katie Tate 3; TEAM 1)
Corner kicks: Samford 6, Coll. of Charleston 0
Fouls: Samford 9, Coll. of Charleston 6
Davidson (11-9-1) vs. UNC Greensboro (13-7)
Date: Nov 06, 2009 Attendance: 333
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Davidson 1 0 1
UNC Greensboro 0 0 0
1 18:34 DAV Lauren Conner (2) (Kyri Bye-Nagel) - header off cross from left touchline
Shots: Davidson 5, UNC Greensboro 19
Saves: Davidson 7 (Jessie Baxa 7), UNC Greensboro 2 (Alex Perry 2)
Corner kicks: Davidson 4, UNC Greensboro 4
Fouls: Davidson 8, UNC Greensboro 6
- UNCG -