GREENSBORO, N.C. – Reigning Southern Conference Co-Player of the Year Tabitha Padgett played like it Sunday, notching her first career hat trick to lead No. 25 UNCG to a 4-0 win over Davidson in SoCon women's soccer action.
With its sixth straight win, UNCG improved to 9-1-1 overall on the season, good for the best start in school history. The Spartans, who are 4-0-0 in the league, are tied for 25th in this week's Soccer America poll.
Defending SoCon tournament champion Davidson fell to 4-6-2, 0-2-2 in the SoCon.
Padgett, who was also the SoCon Freshman of the Year last season, scored her fourth goal of the season in the 29th minute, getting a pass from Lauren Hein at the top of the 18-yard box and burying it lower right for what would prove to be the game-winning goal. Stine Schoening also picked up an assist on the play.
Sophomore Jessi Gulledge made it 2-0 in the 57th minute, getting a pass from Padgett at the top of the box and tucking into the lower left corner for her third goal of the season.
|Coach Eddie Radwanski talks with the media after the game.|
Padgett added an insurance goal in the 83rd minute, taking a pass from Cat Barnekow just over the midfield line and winning a footrace with a Davidson defender to the goal to make it 3-0.
The sophomore from Orange Park, Fla., finished off the hat trick less than a minute and a half later, receiving a Kristen Schmidbauer pass near the top of the box and finishing top shelf for the final margin. Nicole Danford also earned an assist, getting the play started in the defense.
Padgett's hat trick came exactly two years to the day since UNCG's last one. Katelynn Donovan was the last Spartan to score three goals in a game, doing it against The Citadel on Oct. 3, 2008.
UNCG outshot Davidson 15-4 on the day, with only two of the Wildcats' shots being on frame. Davidson didn't put a shot on goal until the 79th minute, when Julie Calhoun forced keeper Kelsey Kearney to make her first save of the afternoon. Rachael Newmister forced another save in the 85th minute, with Kearney punching the ball over the crossbar.
Kearney's shutout was her fifth of the season and 24th of her career, putting her one shy of the school record held by Jennifer Stillman. Stillman had 25 from 2002-05.
Jessi Baxa made seven saves for the Wildcats.
"We're figuring out ways to get better," UNCG coach Eddie Radwanski said. "We're hungry. Obviously, we have a lot of respect for Davidson, so we were ready to go for this game and the girls wanted to make a statement. I think they did that with their performance. It's not easy to play Davidson."
The UNCG win snapped Davidson's two-match winning streak in the series, giving the Spartans a measure of revenge for a pair of losses to the Wildcats last season. Davidson stopped UNCG's 33-match unbeaten streak against SoCon opponents in regular-season play on Oct. 2, 2009, then knocked off the top-seeded Spartans in the semifinals of the SoCon Championship on Nov. 6.
The Spartans return to action on Friday, Oct. 8, when they host The Citadel at 7 p.m.
UNCG 4, Davidson 0
Goals by period 1
Davidson............ 0 0 - 0
UNCG................ 1 3 - 4
1. 28:19 UNCG Tabitha Padgett (4) (Lauren Hein;Stine Schoening)
2. 56:34 UNCG Jessi Gulledge (3) (Tabitha Padgett)
3. 82:33 UNCG Tabitha Padgett (5) (Cat Barnekow)
4. 83:55 UNCG Tabitha Padgett (6) (Kristen Schmidbauer;Nicole Danford)
Shots: Davidson 4, UNCG 15
Saves: Davidson 7 (Jessie Baxa 7), UNCG 2 (Kelsey Kearney 2)
Corner kicks: Davidson 3, UNCG 5
Fouls: Davidson 9, UNCG 11
- UNCG -