Our UNCG soccer teams have both had good seasons. In the regular season, the men went 9-6-2 and the women went 10-7-3. Specifically for the women they were 5-2-2 in SoCon play, 6-3-1 at home in the UNCG Soccer Stadium and 4-4-2 in away matches.
The ladies began their conquest through the Southern Conference playoff bracket on Saturday, Oct. 28. They faced off against sixth-seeded Chattanooga here at the Soccer stadium and came out with a solid 2-0 victory.
The next game of their playoff run came in the semi-finals on Friday evening at Samford’s soccer field in Birmingham, Alabama, where they faced the hosting Bulldogs. The women came into the game with confidence after the fine victory versus Chattanooga and played well in the following game. They escaped with an underdog victory by a margin of 2-1 in double overtime.
The game was a defensive showdown in the first half, with our goalkeeper, Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper, posting saves. The first goal did not come until the 67th minute of the game. Samford made a shot from 20 yards out off the foot of Jermaine Seoposenwe into a top corner of the goal past our keeper. Seoposenwe is a 2-time SoCon Player of the Year.
From this point on, the game got exciting. The next goal came from the Spartans in the 73rd minute. Cienna Rideout, one of the team’s stars, got the goal off an assist from Grace Regal from the top of the 18-yard box. Rideout grabbed the pass and shot it into the top corner of the opposing goal past Bulldog keeper Anna Maddox.
The game continued into overtime after the goal by the blue and gold. The teams entered overtime thanks to strong defensive play by our defenders and goalkeeper. Without their solid play the game, it could have turned out very different. The first overtime had no goals and the second overtime was looking that way as well. It was looking like the second overtime was going to end and the game was going to go into penalty kicks. However, the Spartans decided to shine and grab a final goal before the match came to a close.
The game-winning goal came in the 102nd minute off the foot of Cienna Rideout. It came off a cross from Emily Stump. Rideout finessed the ball over the goalie for the final, shocking goal of the game. This was a very impressive victory and it came because of sensational defense and because the offense took advantage of opportunities.
Because of this victory, the Spartans moved on to the final game of the SoCon playoffs. They faced off against fourth-seeded Western Carolina University. This game was exciting for our Spartans and, we ended up getting the victory 1-0. The single goal came in the 54th minute of the match off of a set-piece. The Blue and Gold had 7 set-pieces during this game. Regan Lehman took the corner, and Emily Jensen was able to get her head on it over 3 Western defenders and direct the ball into the goal.
The defense was solid throughout the entirety of the game and our goalkeeper, Tyler-Cooper, had 7 saves in her 8th shutout performance of the season. The ladies had the Catamounts in shots taken as well, as the ratio was 20-7 with us having the obvious advantage.
With the winning of the championship from the Spartans, they get an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I tournament. They found out who they were going to play and when they were going to play on Monday, so check online if you want to find out the details and to find out how to watch them play in the tournament.
All-in-all, it was a wonderful season for the women’s team. They had their ups and downs this season as all teams do, but they pulled it together and rode a red hot streak to a SoCon championship and tournament berth. It is a cohesive unit and a hard working one, so we will see how they do in the NCAA tournament.