DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Carson-Newman Eagles scored two goals in less than two minutes in the second half as the sixth seeded C-N women's soccer team upset the third-seeded Limestone Saints, 2-0, in their first round match in the NCAA Tournament's Southeast region on Friday in Dahlonega, Ga.
"I thought the girls did a great job," coach Richard Moodie said. "Game management was brilliant, top performance. I thought we created the better chances. We got a couple in the second half and Jackie Burns (Cookstown, Northern Ireland) pulled off some great saves. I think we've got a great squad here and we can continue to win."
Both teams had opportunities to get on the board in the first half, but they came up empty. A shot by Julianne Herrity (Donegal, Ireland) in the 10th minute was on target, only to be saved by Meredith Bailey. In the 13th minute, a give-and-go between Alex Brandan (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Herrity sprung Brandan on goal, but Bailey beat the sophomore to ball to end the chance. The Saints almost got on the board in the 22nd minute off a free kick by Holly Rawcliffe, but her shot sailed wide. The first 45 minutes ended with neither team on the scoresheet.
The decisive period in the game began in the 54th minute when, with the Eagles pressing the issue, Limestone conceded a corner. Varin Ness (Sogndal, Norway) took the kick and sent a perfect cross into the area of the six-yard box. Heida Ragney (Akureyri, Iceland) was in perfect position for a header that counted as her second goal of the season and put her team ahead 1-0.
Even after seizing the lead, Carson-Newman kept its foot on the gas and soon earned another goal. After having her shot blocked, Lauren Wade (Coleraine, Northern Ireland) got the ball right back, sent it to her right and Lara Hallgrimsdottir (Kopavogur, Iceland) unleashed a rocket from the top of the 18-yard box that found the upper-right corner of the net for her first career goal and a 2-0 C-N edge.
"I think just a better belief [in the second half]," coach Richard Moodie said. "We've had a tough journey to get here and we've played a lot of games. It started the slow, the game was evenly contested. I thought we created the better chances. In the second half, the goal allowed us to get into a rhythm and then there was no stopping us."
Having built a multi-goal lead, the Eagle defense went to work, preventing the Saints from making a mark on the scoresheet. With less than 10 minutes remaining, Limestone put on a charge to try and get back in the game, but a pair of outstanding saves by Burns kept the net empty. The freshman keeper finished the day with five saves and earned her 14th shutout of the season.
This victory propels Carson-Newman into the second round of the tournament, their second trip there in two years, where they will face the second-seeded North Georgia Nighthawks on Sunday at 1 p.m.