The Belmont Abbey women's soccer team lost 2-1 in the conference championship match to Limestone this evening in Gaffney, SC. The Crusaders are now 16-3-1 for the 2016 season and await news of a potential NCAA Tournament berth.
Belmont Abbey shots were fired early and often, beginning with a shot by forward Cierra Skyers just 11 seconds into the game that missed the goal by inches. By the 12th minute, the Crusaders had taken three shots. They also got multiple corner kicks in the early part of the game. Then in the 28th minute, senior Theresa Sloat rebounded a missed shot and found the goal to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead. Limestone tied the score at one in the 40th minute, but the Abbey kept attacking, getting shots, and keeping possession most of the period. Midfielder Alex Butorovich took a shot in the closing minutes that barely missed high, and gave the Crusaders some momentum. The match was tied at one at halftime.
The strong offensive performance continued into the second half, as Belmont Abbey got two corner kicks in the first five and a half minutes of the period. The defensive unit also did a great job of keeping the Crusaders routinely on the attack. In the 59th, a Limestone goal made it a 2-1 game. Belmont Abbey continued to fight, getting opportunities on corner kicks, shots inside the box, and keeping the Limestone defense active. At the end, however, Limestone won 2-1.
On the night, the Crusaders took four corner kicks to the Saints' one. They also took 11 shots in the game. Freshman Kaitlyn Paul made four saves in goal.
After the match, Head Coach Mike Lynch offered the following comments: "Congrats to Limestone for a great season capped by two championships so far. We wish them all the best in the NCAA tourney representing Conference Carolinas. I am so pleased of our TEAM's performance in this Final and all season long. This was our first loss since losing to the same team Sept 17th. Credit to Cierra Skyers and Jada Mauney, our senior captains, for their outstanding leadership and to all the players for their sacrifice and commitment all season. I also want to recognize our great staff, student managers Cory Moore and Meg Borths capturing our game video, Athletic Trainer Amy Humphries who did a great job taking care of our players, Coach Jake Berry, for his great job coaching our goalkeepers, and of course Coach Jaime Malilong, the best asst coach in college soccer. Tomorrow we find out if our 16-3-1 record gets us an at-large bid into the NCAA Tourney. Regardless, we are so grateful for our season."