Senior Meggie Graham's fourth goal of the season in the second half was all Appalachian State University women's soccer needed, as the Mountaineers defeated Western Carolina 1-0
Wednesday night at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.
With the narrow victory, Appalachian (10-7-1, 6-3-1 SoCon) secures the No. 4 seed and a home quarterfinal match in the Southern Conference Championships, to go along with a match with No. 5 seed Elon on Sunday afternoon. The seven SoCon victories are the most ever by the program after winning six in 2001 and the Apps also earn a ten win season, the first since 2005.
The defense was superb throughout the match, but was key in the opening 45 minutes. The backline held Western Carolina (7-10-2, 3-6-2 SoCon) to just one shot as freshman goalkeeper Megan Roberson did not have to make a save. Roberson exited the match at the start of the second half, making room for sophomore Amy Kolowsky.
After a back-and-forth start to the second half, the Apps got on the attacking end in the 59th minute when senior midfielder Hannah Coad found some space between WCU's midfield and backline. As she drove up the field, she sent a through ball to Graham who fired a shot past Catamount goalkeeper Katie Jacobs. For Graham, it was her second goal as many matches after scoring the game-winner against College of Charleston on Sunday.
"The fact that Hannah and Meggie combined for the goal was icing on the cake," head coach Sarah Strickland said. "To see Hannah get to play again and for Meggie to get the game-winning goal is just awesome."
The backline, highlighted by the play of seniors Taylor Dunlap and Sam McVeigh, closed out the match for the remaining 31 minutes holding Western Carolina to one shot on goal. WCU's leading goal scorer, Markie-Lynn Studnicky was unable to tally a shot for the match.
Dunlap recorded her 74th straight match started, tying her for third all-time in App State history. The senior helped the Mountaineers earn their sixth shutout on the season, as the focus turns to postseason play on Sunday.
"We're excited [to host]," Strickland said. "It's great to play at your own place and in front of your home crowd. It's just a huge advantage for us and we are really hoping to get a lot of fan support on Sunday. The fans definitely help us a lot whenever we are at home, so we would all appreciate that."
The Mountaineers will host Elon on Sunday, Oct. 28 as the Phoenix enters the match facing a two-match losing streak. Appalachian defeated EU earlier this season, breaking a winless drought of four straight matches against the Phoenix. Kickoff from the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex is set for 2 p.m.
2012 SoCon Women’s Soccer Championship
Sunday, Oct. 28
#8 seed Georgia Southern at #1 seed UNCG, 3 p.m.
#5 seed Elon at #4 seed Appalachian State, 2 p.m.
#7 seed College of Charleston at #2 seed Samford, 2 p.m. CT
#6 seed Davidson at #3 seed Furman, 4 p.m.
Semifinals, Friday, Nov. 2
Semifinal 1 (Georgia Southern/UNCG winner vs. Elon/Appalachian State winner),5 p.m. CT*
Semifinal 2 (College of Charleston/Samford winner vs. Davidson/Furman winner), 7:30 p.m. CT*
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 4
Winner of Semifinal 1 vs. winner of Semifinal 2, 1 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
All times Eastern unless otherwise noted.* As tournament host, Samford reserves the right to play at 5 p.m. Friday if it advances to the semifinal round.
Photo Courtesy: Meggie Graham, ASU Athletics