Women's Soccer Falls in Penalty Kicks to High Point in Big South Tournament Championship
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The top-seeded Coastal Carolina University women’s soccer team (15-5-2) fell in penalty kicks to third-seeded High Point (11-7-3) in the 2007 Big South Women’s Soccer Championship Nov. 11 in Charleston, S.C. Coastal and High Point went 110 scoreless minutes before the Panthers won the shootout and the conference tournament title.
The first half was a defensive battle with only four shots-on-goal between the two teams. High Point had the first scoring chance in the seventh minute as Beckie Lesh had an open look at goal, but the shot was blocked by a Coastal defender. Sara Rager then had an open look three minutes later, but sophomore Maegen Hellberg (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) had a great sliding tackle to save a shot opportunity. In the 19th minute, Hellberg sent a free kick into the box that almost got to the foot of junior Blair Monroe (Little River, S.C./North Myrtle Beach) in space. Monroe also had a good opportunity three mintues later, but her one-touch shot went just wide. High Point’s Megan Fielden had a pass in the box that Alex Torriero almost converted into a goal in the 29th minute.
High Point had the 7-6 shot advantage while taking both first-half corner kicks. Freshman Amy Haggard (Sylva, N.C./Smoky Mountain) and High Point’s Hannah Nail had two saves apiece.
High Point came out to start the second half and right away had a chance to score. Rager had an opening off a corner kick, but Haggard was able to hold on to the loose ball to secure the scoreless draw. Rager then had a touch on a cross in the middle of the box that went just wide left. Coastal had its best chance to score in the 79th minute as Gunning received a cross from junior Heather Haupt (Springfield, Va./West Springfield) and ripped a shot from eight yards out, but Nail made a save on the play, her third of the game. Then in the 86th minute, Gunning slid a pass to Haupt, who had a breakaway, but her shot was just wide left.
Coastal had two great chances in overtime. Right before the end of the first overtime, freshman Anna Tupy (Alexandria, Va./Thomas Edison) looked to have a breakaway, but was called for offsides. Then in the second overtime, Monroe hit the right post at 107:46. The two teams could put the golden goal in the back of the net and the game went to penalty kicks.
High Point’s Laura Eldridge and Gunning both converted on their kicks in the first round. HPU’s Courtney Spotts made her attempt, but the Panthers’ Hannah Nail made a save on sophomore Corie Coles’ (Pilesgrove, N.J./Woodstown (Lynchburg)) attempt. Senior Emma Humphries (Wellington, New Zealand/Samuel Marsden College (Cal State Fullerton)) and freshman Tiana Tallant (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern) made their attempts, but High Point went a perfect 5-for-5 and Torriero’s make gave High Point the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Coastal outshot High Point 17-13 while the Panthers had a 4-1 corner-kick advantage. Haggard ended the game with five saves and recorded her ninth shutout of the season, while Nail stopped three shots. Monroe led Coastal with six shots, while a trio of Panthers had three shots each.
After the game, Gunning, sophomore Maegen Hellberg (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) and junior Chelsea Terry (Charleston, S.C./James Island) were named to the Big South All-Tournament Team.
Coastal ends the 2007 season after recording a school record 15 wins, a Big South regular season championship and a first trip to the Big South Tournament championship game in school history.
Head Coach Rohan Naraine
“We started off slow in the first half, but in the second half we picked it up and we were unlucky. In overtime, we put on pressure. In the first overtime, we had a chance, but it just missed the post. In the second overtime, we hit the post. We had our chances. You hate for a game to end like this in penalty kicks. I’m proud of them. I couldn’t ask for anything else from them. Give credit to High Point. It was a great game.”