Lee Women Win Gulf South Championship
Monday, November 6, 2017
The No. 7 Lee women's soccer team made history on Sunday evening as it captured the program's first Gulf South Conference Championship with a 1-0 victory over Mississippi College from the Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex.
The Lady Flames grabbed a 1-0 lead when the Lanter sisters hooked up in the 21stminute. Anna ripped a shot off the hands of the Choctaws goalkeeper and her older sister Summer was there to fire the deflection into the back of the net.
Lanter, the two-time GSC Player of the Year, has now scored eight goals in the last four matches and five scores in the three GSC Tournament contests.
Clinging to a one goal lead the Lee defense turned away a corner kick by the Choctaws with just 10 minutes left to help seal the victory.
Mississippi College got a foot on the ball inside the jumbled box but the Lady Flames turned away the attempt as Katie Cloud stepped in the way and the ball was gobbled up by keeper Haley Gribler.
"I'm so happy for these girls and all the hard work they have put in to get to this point," said a jubilant head coach Chris Hennessey. "I'd first like to thank my incredible staff. Luidgi (Beauzille, Assistant Coach) is such a huge asset to this team and we wouldn't be where we are without him. Sammy Ritowski has been an unbelievable help this season and Jeff (Mullins, Athletic Trainer) has been with us a long time and does such great work to keep us ready to play."
Gribler recorded two saves in the contest in keeping the clean sheet. The Choctaws all-conference keeper Andrea McDonald recorded two saves of her own.
The two teams showcased why they ended up in the title match. Lee held a 9-7 advantage in shots and placed three on goal while the Choctaws placed two on frame. Mississippi College earned six corners, including four in the second half while Lee took two.
"We've had so many close calls over the last couple of years that didn't go our way, tonight was really special to be able to finish it off," said senior defender Katie Cloud.
"It's really hard to put into words what I'm feeling. I'm so proud of this team and it really was a team effort. Those last 15 minutes were such a blur but we knew we would need to make some plays to hold the lead and everyone stepped up and made big plays," said senior midfielder Suzanne Arant.
The Lady Flames (15-4) exacted some revenge on the talented Mississippi College club (14-3-1). Last season the Choctaws eliminated Lee in the GSC Semifinals in penalty kicks.
"I've said all year this is the most talented team we played and it showed tonight," said Hennessey. "We knew we weren't going to have many chances and there was going to be moments where we went on runs and they went on runs. I thought we defended superbly in the final 15 minutes because they created some good chances."
Summer Lanter was named the GSC Tournament's Most Valuable player and joined Cloud, Arant and Meagan Newman on the All-Tournament team.
The Lady Flames have now qualified for the NCAA National Tournament in each of its three seasons of NCAA postseason eligibility. The full tournament field will be announced on Monday.