Seattle Pacific 3, Carson-Newman 2Dec. 1, 2005

WICHITA FALLS, Tex. (Dec. 1) Carolyn Nasons goal with 19 minutes remaining capped a two-goal comeback and sent Seattle Pacific University into the NCAA Division II womens soccer championship game with a 3-2 victory over Carson-Newman Thursday night.

The unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Falcons (20-0-4) will move on to face No. 7 Nebraska-Omaha (19-2-0) in the title game Saturday at 11 a.m. PST.

Nason (Jr., Lafayette, Co.) headed in a corner kick from Meredith Teague (Fr., Redmond, Wa./Bellevue Christian) at the far post in the 71st minute. Nason also figured in the second SPU goal, a penalty kick by Shannon Lovejoy (Sr., Seattle, Wa./Seattle Prep), in the 59th minute.

We showed a lot of character, a lot of guts, said SPU coach Chuck Sekyra. I dont know if we played our best game, but a lot of that had to with how they came at us. Trailing 2-1 after a late first-half goal by the Eagles (17-5-0), Seattle Pacific came out strong to start the second period. Nasons header was going into the net when Carson-Newman defender Stacey Thomas blocked the ball with her hand. Thomas was promptly issued a red card and Lovejoy slotted the ball into the left side netting, making it 2-2.

It was a hard fought game with a lot of drama, that was really won and lost over one incident, said Carson-Newman coach Philip McNamara, alluding to the handball and penalty kick. It was the turning point of the game.

The goal, Lovejoys eighth this year and fifth from the penalty spot, made her the Great Northwest Athletic Conference career scoring leader.

Although the Eagles played shorthanded for the final 31 minutes, SPU was unable to score a fourth goal, and in the last seven minutes Carson-Newman nearly pulled even.

Backup goalkeeper Katie Ruggles (Jr., Eugene, Or./South Eugene) leaped to tip a free kick by Claire Ramsdale over the crossbar and, with just 67 seconds to go, a 35-yard drive by Rebecca Angus hit the bar.

Angus, the junior striker from England, figured in both C-N goals. She sprung Jennifer Bock for a breakaway to open the scoring in the 14th minute. Angus then dribbled around two defenders and cracked a 20-yard shot into the upper left corner 1:13 before halftime, to regain the lead at 2-1.

On the play, starting SPU goalie Jennifer Burns (Fr., Boise, Id./Capital) hit her head on the left post in her diving attempt to make the save. Ruggles replaced her for the balance of the match, but Burns has been cleared to play Saturday.

Carson-Newman is the first opponent to score twice against SPU, which ranked No. 3 in NCAA scoring defense. It was only the fifth time the Falcons have been forced to come from behind.

Teague and Nason, both defenders, got their third and sixth goals, respectively. Five of Nasons scores have come from corner kicks.

Seattle Pacific was on its heels for most of the first 25 minutes but settled down after Teagues dipping drive from 25 yards made it 1-1. Shannon Oakes (Fr., Boise, Id./Boise) assisted.

Nasons game-winner came less than two minutes following a shot off the crossbar by Seattle Pacific forward Heidi Jacobson (Sr., Kirkland, Wa./Cedar Park Christian).

The Falcons finished with a 28-198 advantage in shots, forcing C-N keeper Nyssa Griffin to make 13 saves. Burns made five stops and Ruggles one.

I look for us to have a more complete game on Saturday, said Sekyra. Weve always learned from past experience, and I expect us to be more balanced.

In the days first semifinal, Nebraska Omaha rebounded from an early deficit to defeat favored Franklin Pierce (NH) 2-1.

-- Courtesy Seattle Pacific