Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Columbus State Athletics

Columbus, Ga. -- Columbus State scored a pair of second-half goals, giving them three unanswered scores in the contest, to defeat Armstrong Atlantic State in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Southeast Regional on Sunday at the Walden Soccer Complex. The win sends the Cougars, seeded second in the region, into next weekend's third round where they will face top-seed Carson-Newman on their home field in Jefferson City, Tenn. Carson-Newman defeated Tusculum 1-0 on Sunday to retain the right to host.

Kate Walton's goal just 1:13 into the second half turned out to be the game-winner for CSU. Jordan McKenzie delivered a corner kick, one of 10 in the game for the Cougars, and Walton used her height to get up high and her header found the net to make it 3-2. "We have been working hard on corner kicks in practice and coach Entlich talked about how important it was to score off corners, so I knew if the ball came to me I had to get it in," said Walton.

"We knew we needed to get on the board first in the second half because of what we had seen AASU do to Belmont Abbey on Friday." said CSU head coach Jay Entlich.

CSU took the early lead in the game, getting a goal just over seven minutes into play. Kayla Brown displayed some fancy footwork, dribbling around two defenders at the left edge of the box and then laying a crossing feed in to Gina Goforth for the score. That goal came at the 7:04 mark to make it 1-0.

"I thought it was very important that we got on the board first in this one," said Entlich. "We gave up two goals and trailed, but were able to battle back and get the game tied before the half, and then just executed well in the second half. We are really excited about the win and the opportunity to keep playing."

Goforth, the team's captain and a senior leader, scored her team-high 13th goal and is also excited about the opportunity to move on. "I am really proud of our team. They (the younger players) have really grown up over the season and now we (the senior leaders) just have to keep them trucking through the rest of the season. We have some really big games coming up," she said.

The Pirates answered a short time later to tie the game. Kristina Pascutti got AASU on the board at the 14:22 mark as her crossing pass ricocheted off a defender and came right back to her foot, her bullet of a shot was true into the left side of the net and tied the game at 1-1. Teammate Erin Holt scored on a very simlar play less than two minutes later. Kyndal Schaaf directed a cross into the box that a CSU defender tried to clear with a header, but the attempted clear came right to the foot of Holt and she hammered it in to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

AASU would hold that lead until Kelsey Bass got the equalizer less than three minutes before halftime. After an AASU foul near midfield, Jordan McKenzie lifted an indirect free kick toward the box. Emily Husted got off the ground and was able to head the ball back toward the top of the box and after the ball caromed off a Pirate defender, Bass placed a volley shot perfecty to the upper left 90 and past Tracey Mitchell for the equalizer at the 42:13 mark.

"Coach (Jay Entlich) told me to head in because the kick was going to come to the box. I was really nervous because sometimes if the ball comes to you, you have to figure out what to do. When the ball did come to me that time, I didn't have to think about what to do - it was just perfect," said Bass.

The Cougars added an insurance goal in the 62nd minute to make it 4-2. Leslie Matthews sent a long serve toward the box and Melinda Bush used her speed to run the ball down, get ahead of a defender and then beat Mitchell with a shot to the far post from the right side. That score came at the 61:30 mark.

AASU put pressure on the Cougars in the remaining time as Pascutti got off three more shots that Kelly Nimmo made saves on. The Pirates also had three consecutive corner kicks in a two-minute span late in the game. The first of those came as Pascutti's shot was punch-saved by Nimmo over the crossbar. AASU got two more corner chances but could not capitalize. Carey Patterson got off the Pirates' final shot at the 89:19 mark, but it sailed high.

In all, AASU held a 15-11 advantage in shots, while CSU held the advantage in corner kicks by a 10-6 count. Nimmo collected a career-high 10 saves in the game, while Mitchell had two and Meghan Mayville one for the Pirates. Each team was whistled for nine fouls.

CSU heads to the NCAA third round for the third consecutive year and will travel to Carson-Newman for the second time in post-season play. The Cougars played at C-N in their first-ever post-season appearance in 2006, falling to the Eagles to end that season.

"I think our team is really looking forward to the third round. Carson-Newman puts on a great tournament and we look forward to going up there and competing and seeing what happens," said Entlich.

CSU and Carson-Newman will play on Friday, as will the winners of the two South Region sites. The winners of Friday's contests will square off in Sunday's NCAA Quarterfinal for the right to advance to the Division II Championship on December 3-5.