No. 1 West Florida Rallies to Down No. 7 Carson-Newman, 2-1, to Advance to Final Four
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Top-ranked West Florida rallied to
score two second-half goals en route to a 2-1 victory over the
seventh-ranked Carson-Newman women’s soccer team on Sunday
afternoon in the NCAA Division II Tournament Quarterfinals at
Argonauts’ junior midfielder Shakira Duncan tallied the decisive goal off a cross from Shameka Gordon in the 88th minute to send West Florida to its second-straight Final Four appearance.
The Argonauts (22-0) will face the winner of West Texas A&M and Cal State Dominguez Hills in the national semifinals on Dec. 3 in Tampa, Fla.
The Lady Eagles (20-3-1) fell just short of the Final Four, which would have been their third appearance in six years.
C-N held a lead late into the second half despite a barrage of shots from the Argonauts. West Florida outshot the Lady Eagles 19-2 for the match, including a 7-1 advantage in shots on goal.
Senior forward Nikki Brannen (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) gave the Lady Eagles an early 1-nil lead as she finished off a cross from Trenna Howell (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) in the 11th minute.
C-N held on to take the one-goal lead into halftime, which was the first time this season West Florida entered the locker room with a deficit.
The Argonauts came out firing in the second half, outshooting the Lady Eagles 11-0.
Gordon tallied the equalizer in the 69th minute. After C-N goalkeeper Lauren MacKenzie (Barrie, Ontario) blocked a shot, the ball came free, and Gordon knocked the loose ball into the back of the net to tie the match at 1-1.
Duncan, who leads the nation in goals scored, then came through with the match-winner in the 88th minute.
MacKenzie collected fives saves in the loss.
Carson-Newman head coach Phil McNamara:
“Obviously we are disappointed that we lost this match at home. I felt like we had one foot in the Final Four. What an experience that would have been for this group of young players, but West Florida is an amazing team. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t hold out long enough. I’m just extremely proud of this young team. This group of girls has worked so hard this year and has played their best soccer at the right time in the NCAA Tournament. I’m very, very pleased with the way the girls fought today against a strong opponent.”
West Florida head coach Joe Bartlinski:
“Carson-Newman was unbelievable today. We were getting some looks during the first half, but they weren’t great looks. We had to make a few changes at the half because we’ve never really had to come from behind. Carson-Newman just made things difficult. They were well-coached. After being down on the road, it is a great credit to this team’s ability to come back.”