JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Top-seeded and second-ranked Carson-Newman have earned their third berth in the Division II Women's Soccer National Semifinals after a 2-0 victory over the fifth-seeded West Florida Argonauts on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles (20-0-1) are now tied for the most wins in a single season in program history, last collecting 20 in the 2009 season when it came to an abrupt halt on their home field in the NCAA Quarterfinals to the Argos (17-5-2).
C-N's 2017 tournament record at McCown Field is 3-0 placing a 12-4 all-time mark in front of their home fans.
The last National Semifinal appearances for the Eagles came in back-to-back years in Wichita Falls, Texas from 2004-05. C-N fell to Adelphi 2-1in 2004 then 3-2 against Seattle Pacific the following year.
Joe Bartlinski's squad was the lowest seed remaining in the NCAA Championships, but has found consistent success despite the rankings. West Florida went to the NCAA Quarterfinals just a year ago as the No. 6 seed.
"I have the utmost respect for their coach, for Joe. I mean, he's been there, he's done that. Really good coach," Coach Simon Duffy stated. "Had his girls prepared, and I knew we were going to see a different team than came out against Lee in the first half, in particular the other day. So, yeah, just delighted for our girls to grind in the second half, find a way, and, again, I think we deserved it."
A scoreless first half was heavily controlled by the Argos who outshot the Eagles 9-7 and shutdown every opportunity from the Eagles side.
The best chance came 40 seconds in when a ball sent to Magda Mosengo in the box was chipped over a charging goalkeeper in Katelyn Burkhart but rose too high over the bar.
"First half, I don't think we played very well and the players were well aware of that at halftime, but, I mean, we just came out, I think, a different team," Duffy mentioned. "Two things we were missing in the first half: effort and attitude. I think we had that in abundance in the second half."
"We like to play the through ball and we like to play the long ball as well," Mosengo explained. "It kind of stopped us from playing the game we like to play, and we know that can frustrate the team's defense. So, that caused a lot of problems, but I feel it was able to adjust and use our other strengths than the ones typically use in most of our games."
The forward out of London, England was given a gift in the 57th by an Argonauts defender who attempted to play the ball back to her goalkeeper.
Mosengo sprinted to the ball and made a touch around a sliding Burkhart, using her left foot to give the Eagles the advantage.
Frantic play from both sides ensued with West Florida looking for the equalizer and C-N looking to extend their lead.
Freshman Emilee Futrell was put one-on-one with Burkhart in the 72nd minute after a nifty pass from the sideline to the top of the box from Lauren Wade, evaded three defenders. Futrell took a touch and watched her strike towards the net get swatted by Burkhart, preventing the game from getting out of reach.
The junior Mosengo had a chance to add to the lead in the 83rd minute after her shot was initially stopped by Burkhart and trickled across the goal line for multiple yards before being cleared away.
It didn't take long for the Eagles to put the exclamation point on the victory when junior Alex Brandan sent a beautiful cross from the corner of the 18-yard box to an awaiting Mosengo, who headed home her seventh goal so far in the NCAA Championships.
The second-team All-South Atlantic Conference representative now has 15 tallies on the season, ranking second to teammate Lauren Wade. Her seven game winning tallies on the campaign are tied for a program record with Wade, Julianne Herrity (2015) and Trenna Howell (2009).
Mosengo has seven goals and one assist in the past three NCAA tournament games.
"Every game's not promised. The next game's not promised. You have to put it all out there, and I feel like, I don't know, I've just found the vibe," Mosengo said. "I guess I've got my mojo and I know it's just going to keep sticking with me. We're going to Kansas now. I feel great, and I just hope I can continue doing what I'm doing and allow my energy to just spill for the team and let them feed off of that and have a collective great performance overall."
Jackie Burns was once again stellar in net stopping all seven shots the Argos put on frame for her 11th solo shutout of the season, adding to her program high of 25 in total.
The Eagles will face UC Colorado Springs who defeated UC San Diego 4-3 in penalty kicks after to advance to their first NCAA Semifinal in the program's history. The National Semifinals will take place on Nov. 30 at Childeren's Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo.