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UNCG Edges Furman Women's Soccer To Claim SoCon Title, 2-1

Virginia Poe
Virginia Poe

Macon, Ga. -- No. 2 seed UNCG tallied a pair of first half goals en route to a 2-1 victory over No. 5 seed Furman in the Southern Conference Women's Soccer Championship Match Sunday afternoon at Betts Stadium in Macon, Ga.

Furman ended its season at 12-7-0, while UNCG improved to 15-4-1 and claimed its second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.

After Furman pushed forward on the attack in the opening minutes of the match, it was UNCG that struck first at the 30:28 mark. UNCG forced Furman's Kellsey Weaver into a save off of a free kick and the Spartans' Emily Jensen pounced on the rebound to tuck away her shot. Less than 10 minutes later, SoCon Player of the Year Cienna Rideout won a battle for a loose ball on the left side of the box and poked a pass to Grace Regal who punched a shot inside the near post to double the UNCG advantage at 39:44.

Senior Virginia Poe, who had seen her point-blank effort sail over the crossbar just seconds after UNCG's opening goal, finally put the Paladins on the board in the 74th minute. Caitlyn Reilly curled a free kick towards the top of the six-yard box from high on the right wing and Poe beat her defender to nod her shot into the right side of the net at 73:05. It marked the third goal of the season for the Jacksonville, Ala., native.

UNCG's defense tightened down the stretch and held the Paladins to just one shot over the last 15 minutes to secure its second straight SoCon crown. Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper recorded six saves to earn the victory in goal for the Spartans, while Weaver stopped seven shots for the Paladins.

UNCG managed a 16-14 advantage in total shot attempts and 9-7 edge in shots on goal.

Furman's Jordan Evens, Isabella Gutierrez and Erin O'Hearn were named to the SoCon All-Tournament Team. Gutierrez scored three of Furman's four goals in postseason play, including match-winners versus Western Carolina and Samford.

SoCon Women's Soccer Championship All-Tournament Team
Lea Ann Cutshall, ETSU
Isabel Hodgson, ETSU
Leigh Haynes, Samford
Lexi Orman, Samford
Jordan Evens, Furman
Isabella Gutierrez, Furman
Erin O' Hearn, Furman
Emily Jensen, UNCG
Grace Regal, UNCG
Cienna Rideout, UNCG
Heida Ragney Vidarsdottir, UNCG
Most Outstanding Player
Heida Ragney Vidarsdottir, UNCG
Pinnacle Award (highest cumulative GPA among championship-eligible student-athletes on winning team)
Kaley Tucker, UNCG