November 3, 2010
Soccer Team Advances To SoCon Tournament Semifinals
The Samford University soccer team advanced to the semifinal round of the 2010 Southern Conference Tournament in dramatic fashion Oct. 31 as the Bulldogs won a penalty-kick shootout 4-3 against the Davidson Wildcats in the final match to be played at Bulldog Field. The teams played to a 1-1 draw through the opening 110 minutes of the thrilling SoCon matchup.
"I thought that our players played very well tonight," said Samford head coach Todd Yelton. "They fought hard against a team that is extremely difficult to score against. Greg (Ashton) always has them very well organized he's done a great job with that program. We are very happy to survive and move on to the next round."
With the draw, Samford (12-5-3) advanced to the semifinal round of the SoCon Tournament where the Bulldogs will square off against The Citadel on Friday at 6:30 p.m. (CDT). The championship rounds of the postseason tournament will be held at Western Carolina University.
Friday's opening round match of the SoCon Tournament came down to a decisive penalty-kick shootout. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in regulation and then to scoreless periods in both overtime frames.
Davidson won the coin toss and elected to shoot second in the penalty-kick shootout. Samford's Paige Lanter took the first attempt and fired it on goal, but Davidson's goalkeeper Jessie Baxa made a diving save to stop the shot. The Wildcats' Julie Calhoun then rifled her attempt into the left corner to take a 1-0 lead.
In the second round, the Bulldogs' Leah Leppert sent a laser into the corner before Davidson's Elizabeth Underwood missed the goal completely to the right side. With the score knotted at 1-1, Samford closed out the penalty-kick shootout with consecutive goals from Colette Nammour, Sarah Wilkinson and Trine Taule.
The Wildcats received back-to-back goals from Allison Drutchas (left corner) and Rachael Newmister (left corner), before Rachel Barnett came to the line for the final attempt with Davidson trailing 4-3.
On the shootout-tying attempt, Barnett charged the ball and rifled a shot to the left corner of the net. The goal would have sent the teams into a second shootout frame, but the ball caromed off the left post and back towards the line. With the miss, Samford's bench cleared and the entire team met near midfield to celebrate the shootout victory.
"I told our players before the shootout that no matter what happens I was extremely proud of them," Yelton said. "I didn't want to lose and I wanted us to continue going in this season, but that no matter what happened, I thought they gave us great effort tonight. Penalty kicks are such a cruel way to end a season and we know that by how our season ended last year against College of Charleston. This was a really hard-fought match and it is definitely one that we are very fortunate to get through."
Davidson (6-8-6) concluded its 2010 campaign with back-to-back draws and moved to 1-0-3 against Samford. The Wildcats were the reigning SoCon Tournament champions.
The Bulldogs opened Sunday's scoring with a goal from Lanter in the 59th minute of play. The score was Lanter's fourth of the season and was assisted by Taule.
Davidson evened the score of the match at 1-1 with less than 10 minutes to play in regulation. At exactly 80:53, the Wildcats' Newmister tallied her second goal of the season to equalize the contest at a goal apiece. Newmister's score was assisted by Drutchas.
"If I'm not mistaken, Davidson has scored 17 of their 19 goals by a set-piece, a penalty kick or a corner kick, so they obviously have that aspect of their offensive attack figured out. Against them, a lead is never safe and we actually had a couple of chances to go up 2-0, but we just missed on some close shot attempts. At the end of the day, we're just very happy to still be alive in the tournament."
Davidson's goalkeeper Baxa finished the contest with five saves, while Samford's goalkeeper Alyssa Whitehead tallied a pair of key stops.
"I thought that Colette (Nammour) was fantastic for us tonight," Yelton said. "I also thought that Paige Lanter had her best match of the year. She played all 110 minutes for us and she was getting up and down the flank, so those were the two players that really stood out for me tonight, but we also had a lot of players that were great.
Sunday's match marked the final contest to be held at the 14-year-old Bulldog Field. Next season, Samford will move to the brand-new Samford Soccer Complex, which will be opening in the spring of 2011.
In their highly successful time at Bulldog Field, Samford compiled an impressive 83-30-17 record at home. Since Yelton took over the reins to the Bulldogs' program in 2002, Samford has rattled off a remarkable 58-13-14 record at home.
The Samford University soccer team will next be in action Friday at 6:30 p.m. (CDT) as the second-seeded Bulldogs square off against the third-seeded The Citadel Bulldogs in the semifinal round of the 2010 SoCon Tournament. The matchup will be held at the Catamount Athletic Complex in Cullowhee, N.C.