Lee Claims Gulf South Regular Season Championship
Friday, October 27, 2017
Thanks to a hat trick from senior Summer Lanter the No. 11 Lee women's soccer team secured the No. 1 seed in the Gulf South Conference Tournament and for the third straight year claimed a share of the GSC Regular Season Championship with a dominating, 7-1 win over Shorter on a brisk Thursday evening at the Lee Soccer Field.
In fitting fashion Lanter struck for three goals on senior night and leads the team with 12 on the season. The Soddy Daisy product is tied for eighth with Leah Fortune (2011-2013) on the Lee all-time scoring list with 48 career goals.
Coach Chris Hennessey pushed the right buttons at halftime as the Lady Flames came out firing in the second half blitzing the Hawks for five of their seven goals.
Sophomore Riley Engels scored twice in the victory and has tallied seven goals in her first season with the Lady Flames.
Senior McKenzie Bricker was credited with two assists as she delivered a pair of timely passes into the box on the first and fifth goals.
Bricker leads the club with six assists on the year. Seniors Morgan Sandifer and Sarah Standley were also credited with assists in the offensive explosion for Lee.
"This team is something special and has a culture of unity and love that stems from a solid foundation in Christ. I couldn't be more thankful for the hard work on and off the field from all of my teammates," said senior defender Katie Cloud. "We've always talked about working for one another and giving everything we have when we step on the field and that doesn't change in postseason. We know it's going to be tough, conference tournament is going to be tough, but as soon as we cross this line we know we have to give everything we've got."
Freshman Kelsey Yoder got in on the fun and supplied the seventh and final goal of the match at the 84:26 mark off a pass from Standley.
"I can't thank the senior class enough for what they've done for this program and how they have set a standard of excellence for this program moving forward," said head coach Chris Hennessey. "I'm so happy for our seniors tonight but especially for players like Sarah. She has been here for four years and works so hard in training everyday so to be able to give her minutes and her get something at the end of the night is nothing more than she fully deserves."
It didn't take long for the Lady Flames to grab the lead as Bricker drilled a beautiful corner kick into the box and Lauren Peters slammed it home for her third goal of the season just 47 seconds after the opening kickoff.
Senior Erin Olson started in goal for the Lady Flames and worked the first 45 minutes allowing one goal. Senior all-region and all-conference goalkeeper Haley Gribler came on for the final 45 minutes and did not allow a score.
Lee stuffed the stat sheet with 37 shots, including 14 on goal. Shorter was limited to five shots and placed three on frame.
The Hawks lone goal came in the 28thminute as Taylor Hendrix tied things up on a chip shot over the keeper's outstretched arms from 35 feet out for her fifth goal of the season to briefly tie the contest at 1.
Lee (13-4, 12-2) has now won six straight matches as it heads into postseason play. The loss ends the Hawks season at 3-13-1 and 2-12.
The Lady Flames will host the GSC Quarterfinals on Tuesday as they battle eighth-seeded West Georgia at 7 p.m. Lee defeated the Wolves in Carrollton, Ga. back on Sept. 29, 1-0. Mississippi College also finished the season at 12-2 in league play and will share the GSC Regular season title with the Lady Flames but thanks to a head-to-head victory Lee lays claim to the top spot in the tournament.
Prior to the match 10 seniors were honored in a special ceremony. This year's class has currently posted a 44-16-7 mark and won three straight GSC Regular Season titles and are in prime position to make three straight appearances in the NCAA National Tournament.
The class includes 2016 GSC Player of the Year and All-American Summer Lanter, All-Region players McKenzie Bricker, Meagan Newman and Haley Gribler, key starters Suzanne Arant and Katie Cloud and hardworking players Erin Olson, Morgan Sandifer, Sarah Standley and Sydney Rayborn.