Skeff leads Armstrong Atlantic onward
Pirates beat Lenoir-Rhyne for first Southeastern Region title
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Junior forward Nadima Skeff's goal in the 16th minute sent the No. 7-ranked Armstrong Atlantic team to its first NCAA Southeast Region title in a 1-0 win over No. 13 Lenoir-Rhyne on Friday at the Armstrong Soccer Field.
The Pirates (17-2-3) advance to the fourth round where they will meet the winner of the South Region final between Lynn and Tampa at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Armstrong Soccer Field.
Lenoir-Rhyne, who were the defending Southeast Region champions, fell to 17-3-1.
Skeff provided her third match-winning goal in the Pirates' past four contests as Courtney Cawley played a ball to the right side of the box. Armstrong forward Kristina Pascutti ran it down then reversed direction and sent the ball to the center of the box, where Skeff tucked it inside the left post for her eighth goal of the season.
Armstrong outshot the Bears 10-3 in the first half.
The Pirates had a couple of golden chances to push the lead to 2-0 early in the second half, as Kristina Pascutti forced a save by Lenoir-Rhyne's Caitlin Scruggs in the 48th minute, and then Pascutti got behind the defense in the 60th minute, but her shot was wide of the mark.
Lenoir-Rhyne looked to tie things up on a long-range shot by Mariel Mena in the 67th minute. Mena's drive from nearly 35 yards out hit the crossbar and bounced straight down, but then kicked out into the goal box where Armstrong was able to clear.
Another shot from the Bears' Catherine Hauck off of a corner kick was saved off the line by Emily Cattanach in the 76th minute.
Armstrong withstood a 12-3 shot advantage by Lenoir-Rhyne in the second half, however, to come away with the victory and the region title, gaining a measure of revenge for last season's 1-0 loss to the Bears in the 2010 Southeast Region final.
"It wasn't pretty at times, but we got the result," Armstrong head coach Eric Faulconer said. "We made some tactical changes at the start from what we normally do and it paid off with the goal. We absorbed a lot of pressure from an outstanding Lenoir-Rhyne team in the second half to advance."
Lenoir-Rhyne finished the match with a 15-13 edge in shots while Armstrong keeper Maggie Carson recorded her second consecutive shutout in her second start with two saves. scruggs made five saves for the Bears.
The Bears had three corner kicks, compared to one for the Pirates, and Lenoir-Rhyne was whistled for 13 fouls, compared to 10 for the Pirates.