Columbus State rallies past Belmont Abbey 2-1 in NCAA tournament action
COLUMBUS, Ga. – Stephanie Lowery converted a second half penalty kick to lift 19th-ranked Columbus State to a 2-1 victory against Belmont Abbey in the second round of the NCAA tournament Sunday afternoon at the Walden Soccer Complex.
It is the first Southeast Region championship game the Lady Cougars will play in since the 2009 season when they fell to Carson-Newman.
The Lady Cougars seemed to get on the board first in the 14th minute when Kelsey Pelletier got on the other end of a Kansas Bayly free kick and her shot hit the post and rolled across the goal line but didn't go in.
Two minutes later, Belmont Abbey used a set piece to get the early 1-0 lead as Jillian Lang put one in the box which Laura Shelton got a head on and Meghan Philip then ran on to and headed it home on the empty net. It was Philip's team-leading eighth goal of the season while Shelton was credited with her first assist of the year.
Columbus State ramped up their offensive pressure from there as Belmont Abbey went into a bunker style defense and allowed the Lady Cougars to fire shots from long range as they tried to hold on to their lead.
The next eight shots for CSU were either saved or missed the frame until the 36th minute when Claire Belay notched the game at 1-1. The goal-kick by Belmont Abbey went right to Casey Davis who served a ball into the box which Belay ran on to and put away her second goal of the year. It was also Davis' first helper of the season as the teams went into the half knotted at one.
Coming out of the break, the Lady Cougars kept on the offensive attack taking a pair of shots in the opening three minutes. A streaking Lowery was on the attack when she was yanked down in the penalty box setting up the PK in the 49th minute. Lowery slotted the ball away for the game-winner, her 19th of her CSU career, the most in program history.
Bayly nearly put the game away twice for Columbus State as she received a give-and-go ball from Ashley Miller and ripped a shot in the 60th minute in which BA goalkeeper Hannah Kohls had to dive for and make the save. Three minutes later, Bayly had a header off a Kayla Brown corner kick that hit the crossbar.
CSU finished the game with a 25-6 shot advantage and took all seven corner kicks in the contest. Mary Mancin picked up the win for the Lady Cougars as she made three saves. Kohls suffered the loss and ended up with four saves.