CHARLESTON, S.C. - In their return to the Big South Tournament after a 17-year absence, the No. 3 Campbell Camels are heading to the Championship match after upsetting the No. 2 Winthrop Eagles by a score of 3-2 in the sixth game of the 2011 Big South Women's Soccer Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting Friday at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. Campbell advances to Sunday's Championship game against the No. 1 Radford Highlanders, and will make its second appearance in the title match since 1993.
The Eagles were the first to get on the board, notching a goal just over six minutes into the contest. A minute after a shot by Campbell's Ashley Clark went wide, Grace Radler sent a pass over to Courtney Durbin and sent it past the Camels' Ryann Torrero who dove but couldn't get there in time to give the Eagles the 1-0 lead.
Midway through the half, the Camels would get their revenge in the form of a penalty kick. A handball in the box meant Anabelle Gibney got the free shot and was able to convert to tie things up at 1-1 with 15 minutes to go in the first half.
It was Gibney who helped the Camels take the 2-1 lead as the half drew to a close. Gibney sent a corner kick into the box and over to Pirjo Leppikangas, who headed it past Winthrop's Sarah Schippers to give Campbell its first lead of the night with just under four minutes to go in the first half.
Ashley Clark made it three in a row for the Camels in the second half, as Leppikangas once again made a play. Leppinkangas passed the ball to Clark, who struck from 18 yards out to put it on net. Campbell took the 3-1 lead in the 60th minute of play.
Just two minutes later, the Eagles struck back with a goal of their own. Tori Davis found Allie Vandewater, who put in the one-timer to cut the deficit to just one goal at 3-2 in the 60th minute of play. However, the Eagles couldn't complete the comeback as the Camels went on to take the 3-2 win and earn the berth in Sunday's Championship match.
Top individual scorers for Campbell: Annabelle Gibney (goal, assist), Pirjo Leppikangas (goal, assist), Ashley Clark (goal). Winthrop: Courtney Durbin (goal).
Team shots on goal: Campbell - 8, Winthrop - 5. Goalkeepers: Campbell - Ryann Torrero (4 saves), Winthrop - Sarah Schippers (5 saves)
Campbell, which officially re-joined the Big South in July after 17 years in the Atlantic Sun Conference, advances to the Big South title match for the second time, as the Camels won the inaugural Big South Women's Soccer Championship in 1993 as the No. 4 seed. Campbell will be the first No. 3 seed to play for the Championship since 2007.
Campbell improves to 14-4-2 on the year, while Winthrop ends its season at 13-6-0.
Winthrop Head Coach Spencer Smith
"I was proud of our effort tonight. I thought we played very hard. I felt Campbell was very good too and congratulations to them on the victory."
Campbell Head Coach Todd Clark
"To beat a great team like Winthrop twice this season is an amazing feeling. They were Conference champions, and I think we came out here tonight and earned a victory by the way we played. Radford is just as good a team and we look forward to a great match in the Championship game. We promised our alumni that if they worked hard we would get the program back to this level of play, and we are excited for the progress we have made."