Soccer (W)

Indians Edged 2-1 by Carson-Newman in the SAC Semifinals

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ROCK HILL, S.C. - Catawba’s best women’s soccer season in nearly a decade ended with a loss in the South Atlantic Conference semifinals on Carlisle Field at Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex Friday afternoon.

This is the second time in six days that the Indians (13-5-0) found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-1 decision against three-time defending champion Carson-Newman (13-3-0), which is ranked 16th in the latest national poll.

“The team worked their butts off and gave it everything they had,” Head Coach Nick Brown said. “The girls bought in to what we asked them and they worked hard - could not be any prouder. I think we showed that we have the capability to play on that level – continue to get better, get to that level and stay on that level.”

Magda Mosengo, who earned All-SAC Offensive Conference Player of the Year honors yesterday, recorded both goals for the Eagles. She broke the 1-1 tie with the game winner eight minutes into the second half. Mosengo headed a corner from Lara Hallgrimsdottir past the Indians’ keeper, Shelby Thompson at 52:58.

Catawba missed an opportunity to grab the lead 86 seconds earlier when Shelby Vasich’s shot glanced off the outside of the far post.

Both sides couldn’t cash in on several more chances to score in the remaining 37 minutes of regulation. Carson-Newman registered the better scoring opportunities with two shots directed for the back of a wide open net but was turned away by Thompson. She flashed out of nowhere and thwarted the Eagles, keeping her team in the game.

“That’s Shelby, that’s Shelby – don’t expect any less than that,” Brown said. “What else can you say? Super proud of her and what she has done.”

A hard-fought physical affair, which saw 30 fouls and four cautions handed out, including one on Carson-Newman’s coach staff, was decided by a couple missed opportunities for the Indians.

Mosengo opened the match with a goal on an assist from Holly Talbut-Smith less than a minute into the tilt.

Despite the slow start, the Indians pulled equal on a goal by Bailey Howell at the 25:16 mark. Jovana Sanchez worked down the right side near the goal line, sending a crossing pass to the foot of a streaking Katie Webb. The freshman delivered a cheeky one-touch pass to Howell, charging in from the far side of the 18-yard box.

Catawba, which has the youngest squad of the four teams to make this season’s conference semifinals, turn their attention to off-season workouts and spring games. The Indians return all but two players from this year’s squad when they hit the pitch next August.

“It’s a process and we know it is a process,” Brown said. We want to get better everyday, hopefully make it back to this point and play on Sunday next year.”

In a post-game ceremony, the South Atlantic Conference recognized the seniors from the four semifinalist, including Catawba’s Thompson and Elena Sopranzi. Sanchez received her award for being named to the All-SAC First Team and Ashley Bornkamp earned the SAC Elite 20 Award. This award honors the student-athlete with the top cumulative grade-point average (based on a minimum of 48 credit hours), who is competing at the finals site of each of the league's 20 team championship sports.

Inside the numbers:
- The 13 wins is the most by the Indians since 2012 when they posted a 13-7-0 record.
- Catawba’s 13 victories is tied for the fourth most in program history and the .722 (13-5-0) winning percentage ranks ninth best in the 29 years of the program.
- The Indians advanced to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2014.
- Catawba finished with 35 goals scored, which ties for the third most in a single season and the most since 1997, when the team netted 39 in 23 games.
- The team allowed 18 goals against, the fewest since 2009 and the fifth lowest in program history.
- Thompson’s seven shutouts ranks tied for fourth most in a single campaign. - Thompson’s 1.02 goals against average is fourth lowest in program history.
- Thompson’s 1,588 minutes is the eighth highest all-time.

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