For the second consecutive year, the Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Soccer Team has advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Division II National Tournament. L-R will face Armstrong Atlantic State in the Southeast Regional Finals Friday at 11 a.m., at the Pirates Soccer Complex.
Lenoir-Rhyne (17-2-1) is ranked second in the Southeast Region this year while
Armstrong Atlantic State (16-2-3) is first. Both the Bears (No. 13) and the Pirates (No. 7) are also ranked in the NSCAA NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Top 25 National Poll.
L-R and Armstrong Atlantic State will also face each other for the second straight year in the regional finals. Last season, L-R won by a 1-0 score in Columbus, Ga.
The winner will take on the winner of the South Region Championship match between Tampa (15-5-2), the third seed in the region, and fifth-seeded Lynn (11-6-1) in the national quarterfinals Sunday at 1 p.m. The Tampa-Lynn contest is scheduled to start on Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Lenoir-Rhyne defeated Columbus State (16-4-3) in penalty kicks, 5-3, last Sunday in the second round of the tournament in Hickory, N.C. The match ended in a scoreless tie after two overtimes. Armstrong Atlantic State, meanwhile, downed North Georgia (16-3-3) by a 2-0 score last Sunday at home as well.
L-R won its first-ever outright South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championship in 2011 and captured its second consecutive league title.
The Bears also put together a school-record 16-match winning streak this season and rose to as high as fifth in the national rankings.
Lenoir-Rhyne is being led this year by junior defender Catherine Hauck (Lake Mary, Fla.), a two-time SAC Most Valuable Player (2010-11) who was recently named the Daktronics Southeast Region Player Of The Year. Hauck is currently second on the squad in goals (11) and points scored (26).
L-R's attack is also sparked by senior forward Laura Linehan (San Diego, Calif.) and junior midfielder Carley Griffin (Fresno, Calif.), both all-conference and all-region picks. Linehan leads the team in goals (12) and points (30) while Griffin is tied for second with Hauck in goals score with 11.
Last year, the Bears finished with a 19-2-2 record and advanced all the way to the national quarterfinals before falling to Florida Tech in penalty kicks.
2011 NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Tournament
Third and Fourth Rounds - Savanna, Ga.
Friday, November 18
SOUTHEAST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 2 Lenoir-Rhyne (17-2-1) at No. 1 Armstrong Atlantic State (16-2-3), 11 a.m.
SOUTH REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 3 Tampa (15-5-2) vs. No. 5 Lynn (11-6-1), 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 20
SOUTH REGION winner vs. SOUTHEAST REGION winner, 1 p.m. (national quarterfinals)
Photo Courtesy: LRU Athletics