Columbus State Women’s Soccer Claims Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship With 4-2 Victory Over North Georgia
Evans, GA – The twelfth-ranked Columbus State women's soccer team reclaimed the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Title after defeating North Georgia 4-2 Sunday afternoon at Blanchard Woods Park. This is the Lady Cougars fourth PBC Tournament Championship in the past five seasons including winning three in a row from 2006-2008. CSU improves to 19-1-1 on the year earning the PBC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. North Georgia falls to 14-5-1 and will wait to hear if they will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
North Georgia came out very aggressive from the start and put a couple shots on the board in the first few minutes of the match, none of which were very threatening. From there, Columbus State settled down and started to control the flow of the game. The Lady Cougars had their first three shot attempts blocked before Stephanie Parrish hit a one-timer. The shot appeared to be heading into the net but it hit off a North Georgia defender and changed direction allowing the Lady Saints goalkeeper to make the save.
CSU kept connecting passes and finally got on the board 3 ½ minutes later at the 18:21 mark. Jordan McKenzie was given plenty of space up the left side and served a ball into the box which Stephanie Lowery headed home for her 19th goal of the season. The goal moved her into the top spot on Columbus State's single-season goals scored list. The Lady Cougars were able to add a second goal less than two minutes later on its next shot attempt. Kate Walton found K.C. MacEachern at the top of the box and the senior was able to nail it home for a 2-0 CSU lead. Jackie Ellis nearly added a third goal before the half, but the shot attempt went over the net.
The second half began much like the first ended with CSU putting the Lady Saints under duress. Parrish beat a defender down the right wing and served a ball to an open Leslie Mathews in the box which the forward was able to knock in for a commanding 3-0 lead.
North Georgia wouldn't go quietly with their NCAA Tournament hopes on the line. Lauren Schenk took a shot from about 30-yards out that hit off the crossbar. The ricochet came back and hit Mary Mancin in the back and bounced into the net, making it a 3-1 contest.
Columbus State wasted absolutely no time answering back 31 seconds later. Emily Husted got to a loose ball and played it across to the six-yard box area to Ashley Miller who tallied her second goal of the year. North Georgia's Natalie Douglass closed out the scoring in the contest when she scored off a Casey Smith corner kick.
Mancin upped her record to 9-1 while making six saves in the match. Kirsten Ross allowed three goals picking up five saves in 75:27 of play while Jessica English closed out the game between the pipes for North Georgia allowing one goal. CSU held an 18-15 advantage in shots and the two sides each had four corner kicks apiece. They also improve their all-time record versus North Georgia to 7-1 and have outscored the Lady Saints 25-3. In the PBC Tournament, Columbus State is now 13-3-1 capturing their four tourney crowns. They have reached the PBC Tournament finals five times total, dropping a 2-1 OT decision to Clayton State in just their second season as a program.
Four CSU student-athletes were named to the All-Tournament team including Tournament Most Valuable Player Ashton Ziadie. Catherine Lovin, Lowery and Walton were also named to the All-Tournament team. It was Walton's second time in her career receiving the PBC All-Tourney honors.
The Lady Cougars will now wait for the NCAA Tournament pairings to be announced Monday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. They entered the week in the top spot in the Southeast Region poll and should serve as one of the two host schools in next weekends NCAA Tournament. Check back tomorrow night for an official announcement of when and where Columbus State will be playing next weekend.