November 13, 2011

No. 20 Columbus State Falls in NCAA Tournament on Penalty Kicks

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Hickory, NC – The 20th ranked and third seeded Columbus State women's soccer team had a heartbreaking end to their season as they fell to No. 13 and second seeded Lenoir-Rhyne 5-3 in a penalty kick shootout in the NCAA Southeast Region semifinals.  The contest is officially recorded as a tie as the teams played to a scoreless 0-0 draw through double overtime.

CSU ends its season with a 16-4-3 record while the Bears now stand at 17-2-1.  L-R will now travel to Savannah, Georgia to take on No. 1 seed Armstrong Atlantic State University in the Southeast Region Championship game next weekend.

It was a game that saw very limited scoring opportunities with the first shot of the game not registered until the 21st minute of action.  After just eight total shots in the first half, the second half saw the play of the game start to open up. 

Stephanie Lowery had the best look either side would have the entire match.  A foul by Lenoir-Rhyne setup a free kick for Lowery, who broke open a 1-1 tie Friday night off a free kick goal, just outside the penalty box.  The midfielder struck it great, but an outstanding save by Caitlin Scruggs kept the game scoreless.  Later in the half, Kansas Bayly played a ball into the box which went just over the head of a jumping Kiana Nicholson who was streaking into the box alone.

In extra time, CSU kept on the attack outshooting L-R 6-1, but was unable to crack the defense.  The best opportunity came when Bayly again served a ball into the box, this time Jackie Ellis was just inches away from connecting as she was wide open in the box.

That setup the all decisive penalty kick shootout.  After Laura Linehan made the first attempt for L-R, Scruggs once again made a play for the hosts denying CSU's first shot attempt.  Each side would bury their next two attempts keeping the Bears ahead 3-2 in the PK shootout heading into the fourth round.  Mary Mancin appeared to make the save for Columbus State, but the referee ruled she moved off her line to early and issued another penalty kick for L-R.  Hanna Kiebel knocked home her second attempt and Elizabeth Hawes clinched the shootout in the fifth round.

Columbus State outshot Lenoir-Rhyne 23-12 in the game including a 19-8 edge after the opening 45 minutes of play.  They also held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.  The physical contest was whistled for 27 fouls with 12 of them being called on CSU.

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