The No. 20 Columbus State University women's soccer team scored twice in the second half to break a halftime deadlock, and defeat Lees-McRae College in the first round of the NCAA Division II women's soccer championship on Friday evening.
28-7 margin, including an 18-2 advantage in the second half, while holding a 10-2 edge in corner kicks. Stephanie Lowery tallied a pair of goals for the Cougars, while Kiana Nicholson added a score and Ashley Miller chipped in an assist. Mary Mancin added four saves for the Cougars between the pipes.
Columbus State (16-4-2) outshot Lees-McRae (13-5-3) by a
MaryBeth Sullivan (Greensboro, N.C.) scored the lone goal for the Bobcats, while senior Mary Dorn (Shallotte, N.C.) added an assist. Freshman Kaitlyn Briggs (Oviedo, Fla.) chipped in seven saves in goal for the Bobcats.
Sullivan got the Bobcats off to a flying start in the second minute of the match, punching the rebound after Dorn's initial effort wrung off the bar and fell to the sophomore forward at the goal mouth, giving Lees-McRae an early 1-0 lead. Columbus State leveled proceedings less than two minutes later, when the Cougars were awarded a penalty kick and Lowery converted from the spot to even the match at 1-1.
Lowery put the Cougars in front early in the 67th minute, sending a free kick into the upper 90 from 25 yards distance for her second of the match to give Columbus State a 2-1 lead. Nicholson provided an insurance goal late in the 83rd minute, sending a shot from the top of the area over the Bobcat keeper to give the Cougars the final margin of 3-1.
Lees-McRae is expected to return 17 letter-winners from this year's Conference Carolinas regular season and tournament championship squad, including Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year Meagan Thornton (Millville, N.J.) and first-team all-conference selection Sullivan.
Saints Eliminate Bobcats In OT
The No. 10 Flagler College men's soccer team scored 16 seconds into the second extra time period on Friday evening to record a 2-1 victory over Lees-McRae College in the first round of the NCAA Division II men's soccer championship.
Flagler (16-3-2) outshot Lees-McRae (16-6-1) by a 16-10 margin, including an 11-3 advantage in the first half, while holding a 9-6 edge in corner kicks. Marco Padilla and Brandon Langengerg each tallied a goal for the Saints, while Will Frandsen added an assist. James Smith (Eastbourne, England) tallied the lone goal for the Bobcats, as sophomore Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) made seven saves between the pipes. Camp Bissell tallied three stops for Flagler.
The match remained scoreless until midway through the 44th minute, while Langenberg found the back of the net from close range to send the Saints into the interval with a narrow 1-0 lead. Smith put the Bobcats back on level pegging in the 54th minute, finding the back of the net with a free kick from 25 yards distance to even the tally at 1-1 with his sixth goal of the season.
Each goalkeeper was asked to make several tremendous saves throughout the remainder of regulation, as both net minders recorded a trio of stops to send the match into extra time. Neither team would find the breakthrough in the first extra time period, sending the match into the second 10-minute phase when Flagler struck quickly, scoring the match-winner just 16 seconds in when Frandsen found Padilla for the deciding finish from close range.
Lees-McRae is expected to return 17 letter-winners from this year's Conference Carolinas Western Division Champion squad, including all-conference selections Smith, Rusling, and James Galvani (High Wycombe, England).
Bobcats Advance To Conference Finals
Freshman Kallai Johnston (Statesville, N.C.) tallied seven kills and a match-high four blocks to pace the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team to a straight-set sweep of King College in the semifinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament on Friday evening in Williams Gymnasium.
Lees-McRae (26-8) won the match by scores of 25-15, 25-12, and 25-12, holding King (23-13) to a -.013 hitting percentage while posting a .351 attacking clip of its own. The Bobcats also recorded seven blocks on the night while notching 13 service aces.
Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) and Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) paced the Bobcat attack with nine and eight kills, respectively, while Johnston chipped in seven kills. Epperson also posted a .500 hitting percentage and nine digs, while Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) chipped in match-highs of 26 assists and five service aces. Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) also added a match-high 11 digs, as Johnston and Jessica Singewald (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) each posted a contest-best four blocks.
Sarah Van Goethem posted a match-high 11 kills for King, as Shannon Earwood chipped in 15 assists and two service aces. Earwood also paced the Tornado with six digs, while Payton Tipton dug out five Bobcat attacks.
The first set remained a tightly contested affair until the Bobcats began to find their rhythm with a 10-4 run, taking a 20-11 lead on an Epperson ace following back-to-back kills from Clendenin. After the Tornado tallied a trio of quick points to trim the margin to 20-14, the Bobcats shut the door on the set with a 5-1 spurt to take a 1-0 lead in the match on an ace by Taylor Pritchett (Apex, N.C.).
Lees-McRae carried the momentum into the second set, opening the frame with a 7-1 run before pushing the margin to 20-8 following a Mitchell ace to cap a 6-0 spurt. The Bobcats then closed out the set with a 5-4 spurt to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match on a Tornado miscue.
King responded early in the third set, taking a narrow 5-4 advantage before the Bobcats responded with an 11-4 run to claim a 15-9 lead on a Tornado miscue. The Bobcats took control from there, closing out the set and the match with a 10-3 run to wrap up the victory on a kill by Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas).
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Sunday when the Bobcats host Queens University of Charlotte in the championship match of the Conference Carolinas Tournament at 2 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.