Saturday, November 08, 2008
KENNESAW, Ga. - After 110 minutes of play, the final match of the 2008 Atlantic Sun Women's Soccer Championship was decided by Belmont after converting two penalty kicks at the KSU Soccer Complex. This is the first time in Atlantic Sun women’s soccer history that the third-seeded team has won the title.
Belmont and Mercer went 1-1 in PKs, but Mercer goalie Jean Worts blocked Belmont’s second shooter junior Annie Mussachio's shot to the right side. Bruin midfielder Morgan McBride fired the fourth shot past Worts. Mercer was trying to even the score, but Belmont's keeper Sari Lin shut down the second, third and fourth shots from Olivia Tucker, Heather Manting, Kacie Hudson and finally stopped the last kick from Emerald Phillips to take the title.
All-Freshman selection Sari Lin was on her toes for the Bruins the entire match. She earned seven saves against Mercer, but throughout the tournament she had 17 saves.
Belmont and Mercer played head-to-head to a 0-0 draw in the two overtime periods. Mercer dominated through the entire match in shots 28-9. Eight Mercer players stayed on the pitch for the entire 110 minutes compared to only two of Belmont's players.
The Championship match started off a little slow as Belmont and Mercer battled back-and-forth. Having played a double-overtime match on Thursday, the Bruins came off a little rusty. The Bears had 12 shots with most of the action was happening in the Belmont zone, as Bruin keeper Sari Lin earned six saves in the first half.
After a few touches from both teams, the Bruins defense had to be on the ready as Mercer's Erin Theobald threw a long ball, and Bruin defender Jessica Rix headed the ball towards to corner. Mercer’s Meghan Castaldo looked for midfielder Olivia Tucker for the cross, but Lin was ready to rack up the ball.
Campbell and UCF's 0-0, draw in 2004, was the last time the championship was decided by penalty kicks. Campbell won 3-1 on PKs. This is the first time in tournament history that three games have been decided by penalty kicks (Jacksonville and ETSU, Belmont and Kennesaw State).
With the win Belmont advances to the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. On Monday, ESPNU will host a selection show to determine who, when and where they will be playing.