GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Leah Fortune recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Lee University women’s soccer team to its ninth SSAC regular season championship in a row with a 3-0 defeat of Brenau University (12-4-0, 8-3-0 SSAC).
The Lady Flames (14-1-1, 11-0-0) will carry the No. 1 seed into the SSAC Tournament against No. 8 seed Belhaven University. The match is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday evening at the Lee Soccer Field.
In what was billed as the NAIA’s Game of the Week, the No.
1 Lady Flames found themselves deadlocked with the No. 17 Golden Tigers at 0-0 at the intermission.
Fortune opened the scoring in the second half with an unassisted goal. Freshman Christina Bovbjerg received an assist from Ashley Aragona in the 54th
minute to make it a two-goal lead and Fortune’s assist of Laura Thacker’s goal in the 78th
minute supplied the final margin.
"I thought we showed a great response in the second half and that we started to play more like ourselves,” said Lee head coach Matt Yelton. “As the game went on we just got better and better."
Lee placed 13 of its 23 shots on goal, while the hosts threatened with six of their 15 shots. The Lady Flames took seven corner kicks compared to Brenau’s two.
Brenau entered the match with the NAIA’s fourth-leading scorer in Esther Anyanwu. The forward had scored 25 goals in the previous 15 matches and was the NAIA Offensive Player of the Week for the week ending October 14.
This evening, Anyanwu was held to just three shots with one of those on goal.
"Our defense has done a fantastic job for us all year,” said Yelton. “Tonight we played one of the best attacking teams we have played this year and they were fantastic for us: (Amy) Cochran, (Kim) Conrad, (Clair) Lanter, (Caroline) Scales and (Leah) Wilson deserve a ton of credit for this conference championship."
Leah Wilson tallied six saves to help record the team’s 11th
shutout of the season.
Since the Lady Flames joined the SSAC nine years ago, they have never been defeated in 90 regular season matches. The only blemish was a 1-1 tie at Auburn University at Montgomery on October 9, 2004.
Lee hasn’t lost a regular season conference match since dropping a 1-0 decision to Berry College in the 2002 season. In their final season in the TranSouth Conference, the Lady Flames rattled off a 6-0 record to begin the streak.
"To go ten years without a loss in the league is a special achievement and something that we take great pride of in our program, but with the league being so tough this year to finish it off makes it just that more special," added Yelton.
At Marietta, Ga., Travis Kiger's first goal of the year came on the last day of the regular season, giving the Lee men's soccer team the 1-0 victory at No. 12-ranked Southern Polytechnic State University Saturday afternoon.
The victory keeps the Flames post season hopes alive and moves them to 9-7-1 overall and 5-6 in Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) play. The loss drops Southern Poly to 10-4-1 overall and 6-3-1 in conference.
Kiger's goal came just four minutes into the second half at the 49:10 mark on an assist from Chevon Roberts.
The other huge turning point in the match came just a minute later when SPSU's leading scorer, senior forward Emeka Maduka received a red card, forcing the home team to play a man down the final 39:43.
The Hornets had a golden opportunity to tie the match late in the second half. SPSU senior midfielder Andre Santos missed a penalty kick wide with 3:43 left in regulation.
Flames keeper Tom Halsall recorded four saves in keeping the clean slate. Hornets goalkeeper Dennis Kramer had three saves in allowing the one goal.
Lee registered 10 shots, four of which were on goal. Southern Poly had 12 shots in the match, also recording four shots on goal.
The Flames will have to wait and see if they will play again this year. A Southern Wesleyan win or tie over Emmanuel Saturday night will give Lee the eighth and final spot in the SSAC tournament, set to begin next Saturday.