No. 7 High Point 0, No. 8 Winthrop 0 (2OT, High Point wins on PKs, 4-2)
CHARLESTON, S.C. – It took the sixth shootout in Big South championship game history, but No. 7 High Point came out victorious in the title game of the 2009 Big South Women’s Soccer Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting Friday at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. The Panthers defeated Winthrop University, 4-2, in penalty kicks after the two teams played to a 0-0 draw. High Point captures its second Conference crown in three seasons, and receives the Big South’s automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship. The Panthers are the first No. 7 seed to win the championship, and it is their third overall Big South title, having won in 2004 and 2007.
High Point won its third Conference championship, with all three championship games won in penalty kicks.
Katie Taber had the best opportunity for HPU in the 47th minute when her shot hit the crossbar, but the ball couldn’t find the back of the net, while both goalkeepers played extremely well in the 0-0 draw.
The two teams entered the shootout following 110 minutes of exciting shutout soccer.
Laura Eldridge, Kim Grennan, Sara Rager and Laura Shupe all scored for the Panthers, with Shupe’s goal clinching the title.
Kathryn Leach and Courtney Durbin made their attempts for Winthrop, but Stevie Lucas and Lindsay Taylor were both denied by HPU goalkeeper Marisa Abbott.
Danielle Schepler came off the bench to lead High Point with four shots. Jillie Johnston and Taber both recorded three shots. Tricia Vensel also came off the bench to lead Winthrop with four shots, while Ariel Kunde recorded three shots.
HPU outshot Winthrop 18-15, and both teams put four shots on frame. Abbott recorded four saves in 110:00 of action in goal for High Point to record a tie. Kelsy Weavil also saved four shots for Winthrop in 110:00 of action to earn the tie. Sarah Schippers came on for the Lady Eagles during the shootout for the third time in as many games, but this time she ended up on the losing end.
Marisa Abbott was named Tournament MVP for her play in High Point’s three games. Joining Abbott on the All-Tournament Team were teammates Jillie Johnston, Brielle Spencer and Danielle Rosado; Kylie Long, Katie Perkinson and Stevie Lucas from runner-up Winthrop; Audrey Falconi and Alexi Staton from VMI; Maryellen Derenda and Justine Dugger from Radford. Corie Coles (Coastal Carolina), Ashley Nyholt (Liberty), Megan Tremblay (Gardner-Webb) and Marky Boyce (Charleston Southern) round out the All-Tournament squad.
High Point moves to 7-14-2 on the year, while Winthrop moves to 5-10-6. It was the first meeting between High Point and Winthrop in the Conference Tournament.
High Point Head Coach Marty Beall
“It’s very exciting for the program and it’s very exciting for our staff, it being the first year here to represent the Big South Conference at the national tournament. We’re very honored. I have to give credit to the team. They worked hard all year, went through a very, very difficult non-conference schedule, and I honestly believe that non-conference schedule prepared us for conference play. We’ve only given up two goals in the past seven games because of the toughness and the resilience of this team.”
Winthrop Head Coach Melissa Heinz
“We’re sad and disappointed for not winning the conference tournament. We worked hard to become Conference champions. Someone has to lose and someone has to win. I’m proud of the players. We worked and played hard. We’re thankful for everyone that was here to watch the match. We played to win, we wouldn’t have done anything differently. We’ll heal from this and go even harder next year. The future looks bright for us, but for right now I’m just going to be proud of this team that got us here.”