Women's Soccer Falls to Radford 2-1 in the Championship Game of the Big South Tournament
HIGH POINT, N.C.- No. 2 seeded Radford University scored a pair of first half goals and held off No.1 seeded Coastal Carolina for a 2-1 victory in the Title game of the 2008 Big South Women's Soccer Championship, Sunday afternoon at Vert Track & Soccer Stadium on the campus of High Point University. The Highlanders captured their third Conference crown and receive the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship. Radford struck first when Laura Culver converted a penalty kick opportunity in the 7th minute of play. The goal was set up when a Coastal Carolina defender was whistled for a hand ball in the box. It was Culver's second goal of the season and the first goal allowed by CCU in Big South Tournament play since 2006, a span of 497:24 scoreless minutes.The Highlanders upped their lead to 2-0 in the 32nd minute as Latrice Lee tracked down a pass into space behind the Chanticleer backline from Melony Davis, and then beat a diving Coastal Carolina goalkeeper with a low shot just inside the back post. It was her fifth goal of the season.Coastal Carolina turned up their offensive intensity in the second half as the Chanticleers began to test the Radford netminder with a several shot attempts. Coastal Carolina's aggressiveness paid off in the 74th minute when Samantha Teijelo's corner kick found Ashleigh Gunning in front of the Radford goal. Gunning headed the ball just over the goal line for her 11th score of the season to cut the Chants’ deficit to 2-1.Minutes later, Coastal Carolina had a good opportunity for the equalizer, but Anna Tupy's shot from eight yards out slipped just wide of the right goal post. Lee nearly added an insurance goal for Radford in the 80th minute, but a diving save by CCU keeper Amy Haggard kept the differential at one.Lee paced the Highlander offense with three shots including two on goal, while Gunning and Tupy each tallied four shots to lead the Chanticleers.For the game, Coastal Carolina out-shot Radford 17-8 including a 12-6 margin in the second half. The Chanticleers also held a slight 4-3 edge in corner kicks. Highlander goalkeeper Lisa Lubke finished the game with six stops in earning the victory, while the Chanticleer duo between the pipes of Karen Pavlick and Haggard combined for two saves.Defender Caitlyn Roan was named Tournament MVP for her play in Radford's three wins. Joining Roan on the All-Tournament Team were Highlander teammates Lisa Lubke, Laura Culver, Justine Dugger; Anna Tupy, Ashleigh Gunning, Chelsea Terry from runner-up Coastal Carolina; Megan Strand and Celine Ziobro from VMI; KarraDamascus and Marisa Abbott from High Point. Kat Pollard (Winthrop), Robyn Busha (UNC Asheville), Angie Harvey (Gardner-Webb) and Briana Murphy (Charleston Southern) round out the All-Tournament squad.Radford improves to 14-1-6 on the year, while Coastal Carolina finishes the season with a 13-7-1 mark. The Highlanders are now 3-0 in Big South Tournament Championship match appearances. The Tournament Title was the first for Radford since 2002. It was the first meeting between Coastal Carolina and Radford in the Championship game. QUOTESRadford Head Coach Ben Sohrabi"We were ready to play today. When the whistle blew these guys had a mission and they knew they wanted to be Big South Champions. All the hard work and strong leadership paid off. I would also like to give Coastal Carolina a lot of credit. Year in and year out the Chanticleers are a great program run by Coach Naraine."Coastal Carolina Head Coach Rohan Naraine "I thought up until the finals we were ready to play. I didn't think we had a very good first half. We played better in the second half. It was just the way the goals go. We outshot them and we had a lot of chances but they just didn't go in for us. Give Ben (Sohrabi) and Radford credit. They had their game plan and stuck to it. They scored those two early goals and the second one really hurt us. I'm proud of our girls and proud of our seniors."