West Florida hits 20-win mark in 4-2 second-round win vs. North Alabama
PENSACOLA, Fla. – For the third time this season, No. 2 West Florida won a hard-fought match with North Alabama, this time 4-2. The Argonauts (20-1), the No. 1 seed in the South Region, defeated the Lions (13-6-1), the No. 4 seed, Sunday at the UWF Soccer Complex to advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
The Argos won 20 games in a single season for the fourth time in school history.
Former two-time Gulf South Conference Player of the Year Chloe Roberts provided a spark for UNA, which had been shutout by UWF in the previous meeting between the two teams in the GSC Championship game a week ago on Nov. 4, by scoring in the first minute of the game.
Roberts drove the ball into the UWF box and then bent a near-perfect shot into the back corner of the net past the Argo keeper for the goal just 49 seconds into the game.
UWF responded with seven shots during the course of the next 20 minutes of play, including a header off the cross bar by senior Monica Malavassi.
But Shelby Bush got things going for UWF by sending a shot that was blocked by the UNA keeper, but to strong for the keeper to handle, that rebounded in front of Chelsea Palmer who tied the game at the 20:26 mark.
Minutes later, UWF took the lead on a corner kick that junior Alex Pickrell sent to Daniela Cruz at the top of the box. Cruz headed the corner pass to Malavassi who scored on a header to put UWF up 2-1 with 23:59 on the clock.
The Argos weren’t done scoring in the second half, as Division II’s No. 3 scoring offense kept piling on the goals. Argo keeper Sarah Story saved a shot by Roberts and then sent a booming kick that bounced twice in UNA territory toward the Lions’ box. Palmer collected the ball and returned the favor to Bush with a cross that Bush headed into the net at the 30:01 mark to give the Argos a 3-1 lead going into halftime.
With its season on the line, UNA came out aggressive and cut into the UWF lead early in the second half. Jo Chubb sent a cross to Jennifer Osmond who lofted a shot softly toward the far post and just barely into the net for the score.
But the Argos responded quickly. On a free kick, Palmer sent a pass to Pickrell near the corner who crossed it high into the UNA box for Jessica Ebanks who headed it in for the score.
UWF held on for the victory the rest of the way to advance to play Tampa in the third round Friday.
Palmer recorded her 15th of assist on the season to tie her for fifth all-time in school history for assists in a single season. In addition she recorded her 43rd point which moves her into ninth all-time for points in a single season.
Meanwhile, Story picked up her 20th win to put her third all-time for UWF for wins in a single season. She is sixth in saves with 81. Her goals against average of 0.63 currently ranks her eighth all-time for UWF in a single season. In addition, she is sixth in shutouts with 10.1 in a single season.