DECATUR (11-8) – The Banana Slugs entered the Great South Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Championship match against the Salem College Spirits riding a two match winning streak and trying to get back to the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer National Championship for the first time since 2011. In a physical match that yielded more fouls than shots, the Banana Slugs officially tied with the Spirits 0-0 but won the shootout 4-3 to advance to the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer National Championship.
Both teams won their last match. The Banana Slugs won 1-0 over Agnes Scott College yesterday while the Spirits defeated Mills College 3-0 yesterday. Both matches were in Decatur.
In the first half, the two teams would play back and forth soccer with neither team finding their offensive niche. UC Santa Cruz's lone shot on frame came early in the first half but Alex Arce's shot was saved by the Spirits' Paige Ketchum. Sydney Priest of the Spirits had a shot at the net but the shot went wide. The two teams went into the halftime intermission tied at 0-0.
In the second half, the teams would continue to go back and forth. Late in the half, Megan Carey had a shot at the goal but it was saved by Ketchum. Maddie Crumpton for the Spirits had the final shot of getting a goal in regulation but her shot was saved by Athena Del Rosario.
In the shootout, both teams' first representative (Tarryn Johnson of the Spirits and Megan Carey of the Banana Slugs) scored. In the second round, Del Rosario blocked Ketchum's shot while Gabby Powell made her shot giving the Banana Slugs a 2-1 lead. In the third round, both teams would score again as Sydney Priest of the Spirits and Claire Lim of the Banana Slugs scored keeping the lead for the Banana Slugs at one at 3-2. In the fourth round, Jordan Lanier of the Spirits made her shot while Olivia Dobbs of the Banana Slugs missed her shot tying the shootout at 4-4. In the fifth and final round, Salem's Summer Rich missed her shot leaving the door open for the Banana Slugs. The Banana Slugs turned to Rika Goto, the Great South Athletic Conference Player of the Year, as their final representative. Goto's shot hit the back of the net and the Banana Slugs won the shootout 4-3 and won the Great South Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Championship.
The Banana Slugs will find out who they will play in the 2015 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship tomorrow morning.