Nov. 20, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. -- Junior defender Melissa Morris (Sweetwater, Tenn.) scored a goal with 0.3 seconds left in regulation off a corner kick from Andrea Saevik (Bolandet, Norway) to lift the seventh-ranked Carson-Newman women's soccer team to a 3-2 win over Columbus State on Friday night in the Southeast Regional final of the NCAA Division II Tournament at McCown Field.

With the victory, the Lady Eagles (20-2-1) advance to the Elite Eight, where they will face top-ranked West Florida (21-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Jefferson City. West Florida defeated Rollins, 1-0, in the first match of the night to punch its ticket to the quarterfinals.

Columbus State's season comes to an end at 16-3-3.

C-N had nine seconds left in regulation to set up the match-winning goal, as Saevik raced to the corner to get off the kick. Morris reacted quickly when Saevik's corner landed in front of her and booted home the decisive goal to send the Lady Eagles into the round of eight.

The Lady Eagles had plenty of opportunities to put the match away in the second half, outshooting the Lady Cougars 13-3. C-N held a 20-8 advantage in shots for the match.

Senior forward Nikki Brannen (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) gave the Lady Eagles an early 1-nil lead, as she finished off a cross from Trenna Howell (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) in the ninth minute.

C-N added to its lead in the 38th minute. Saevik controlled a deflection and fired a shot past Columbus State goalkeeper Kelly Nimmo to give the Lady Eagles a 2-0 advantage.

Columbus State refused to go into the half quietly, as Jill Walthall (Clarkston, Ga.) placed the ball in the back of the net with three seconds left on the clock to trim C-N's lead to 2-1 heading into the locker room.

Lady Cougars defender Kelsey Bass (The Woodlands, Texas) tallied the equalizer early in the second half. Bass collected a pass from Kayla Brown (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and scored a goal in the 57th minute to tie the match at 2-2.

The Lady Eagles misfired on several good looks at the goal down the stretch before Morris' match-winner.

C-N goalkeeper Lauren MacKenzie (Barrie, Ontario) collected five saves to pick up the win, while Nimmo finished with five saves in the loss.

The Elite Eight appearance will be the first for the Lady Eagles since 2005 and third overall under C-N head coach Phil McNamara. C-N advanced to the final four in both 2004 and 2005. The Lady Eagles played West Florida in the Elite Eight in 2005, winning the match 2-0.

Postgame quotes Carson-Newman head coach Phil McNamara: "We're thrilled. I can't believe how well we played. We came out from the beginning with a major purpose to our game. That's the best that we've played this year, and we knew we were going to have to play our best to be a strong opponent in Columbus State. They are hard workers and are well coached and have had a lot of success the last several years. I have to give all the credit in the world to my players tonight. We didn't make one substitution, and the starters played their hearts out. I'm just extremely proud of the effort and also the style of our play. I thought we played a lot of good soccer tonight."

Columbus State head coach Jay Entlich: "I told the kids, `Honestly, the better team won tonight.' It just goes to show that heart can carry you a long way. In the end, you saw Carson-Newman sprinting to get down the field and you saw Columbus State walking. They deserve it for sure."