For almost 79 minutes it appeared that the Lee University women's soccer team was on its way to the Gulf South Conference Championship. However, the University of Montevallo scored the equalizer and turned the contest in their favor and rallied to score the winning goal in the 87th minute for the 2-1 victory.
The Lady Flames seized control of the contest in the first half. In the 36th minute, senior Riley Engels was fouled. Sophomore Julia Kaset delivered the free kick into the box. The ball was batted around a couple of times before junior Kelsey Yoder drilled her shot into the lower right corner of the net.
It was her fifth goal of the year and gave Lee a 1-0 advantage at the half.
The determined Falcons fought back until Romee Contreras' shot sailed into the lower right corner of the net for the equalizer. The assist came off the foot of Allye Darnell. At the 87:11 mark, Taylor Ring's goal started the victory celebration for Montevallo. Her outstanding shot from deep on the right flank sailed into the lower left corner of the net and was assisted by Kaeri Ward.
"I'm really proud of the girls. We left everything out there this afternoon," said Lee head coach Chris Hennessey. "Injuries have hurt and Sage (Sammeli) came down with the flu last night. We had girls coming off the bench that had only played five or six minutes the entire year. We simply just ran out of gas. It is what it is but it's still a hard pill to swallow. Our girls kept it close the entire 90 minutes."
Lee out-shot the Falcons in the first half but the winners finished with a 15-13 edge on shots for the match. They placed six on target and the Lady Flames seven. Lee came within inches of stretching the lead in the first 45 minutes when one shot hit the bar and another just missed. Riley Engels took seven shots and had three on goal. Freshman Mallory Hayden and sophomore Avery Engels also fired shots on goal.
Senior keeper Taylor Green posted four saves in taking the loss. The Falcons' keeper Annie Mason registered six saves. The Lady Flames were charged with six fouls and Montevallo four. The Falcons were awarded five corner kicks to Lee's four.
The loss dropped Lee to 16-5 and Montevallo improved to 15-5-3. The Falcons earned an automatic place into the NCAA National Tournament with the championship win, while the runner-up Lady Flames will likely be on the road again after they view the National Tournament Selection Show on Monday. National tournament play is slated to begin on Friday.