Nov 4, 2012

Longwood Women Fall to Radvord in Big South Semi


NO. 3 LONGWOOD FALLS IN BIG SOUTH SEMIFINAL TO NO. 2 RADFORD 2-0

ROCK HILL, S.C. – No. 3 Longwood University dropped a 2-0 decision to No. 2 Radford University in a semifinal match of the 2012 Big South Women's Soccer Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting on Friday night at Winthrop University’s Eagle Field in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  The Highlanders (13-2-4) scored consecutive goals within a 3:18 span early in the second half against the Lancers (13-6-2) to advance to the Big South Championship on Sunday, Nov. 4, in Rock Hill, S.C. at 2 p.m. against No. 4 Winthrop, the tournament host who upset No. 1 High Point University, 1-0, in the other semifinal on Friday.  Longwood enjoyed its finest season since 2002, advancing to the final four in its first year as a league member after being picked to finish fifth in the preseason.
“We’re pretty upset that it’s over for this team and it hurts so much because this is a very special group,” said 19th-year head coach Todd Dyer '93.  “I thought we were a bit unlucky in how we conceded the two goals, but give Radford credit for showing the initiative early in the second half. We wish them well in the final.

“Our coaching staff is very proud of this team and the class they showed in a very successful first season in the Big South.  We are committed to progressing even further as a program in the years to come.  Thanks to all of our Lancer Nation for the tremendous support this season.”
Longwood and Radford, who had tied 0-0 in double-overtime at Radford on Oct. 18, battled scoreless through the opening 45 minutes of the semifinal as well.  The Highlanders had an 8-2 advantage in shots at the intermission, though only two were on goal, and both were saved by senior keeper Kyra Byron|Richmond (Mills E. Godwin).  RU took a 1-0 lead at 48:20 when Sahar Aflaki scored on a ball that she appeared to be crossing in from well outside the box on the right side that caught the far back side of the net for the score.  The Highlanders made it 2-0 just over three minutes later at 51:38 on another ball being sent in from even further out on the right side by Stephanie Herb that again caught the far back side of the net for the score.

Longwood, however, continued to battle back and out-shot Radford 15-6 in the second half.  The Lancers appeared to be in position to make it a one-goal game midway through the period when senior captain Lindsey Ottavio|Fairfax (W.T. Woodson) got free down the middle of the field on a breakaway before being tackled from behind in the box, but no whistle sounded and the opportunity went away.  Ottavio and junior Kelsey Pardue|Henrico (Hermitage) each had two solid attempts on goal in the second half, but each was stopped by Highlanders’ keeper Che’ Brown, the Big South Defensive Player of the Year.

Longwood finished with a 17-14 advantage in shots, though Radford had a 5-4 edge in attempts on goal, and the Lancers led 4-2 on corner kicks.  Ottavio and Pardue each had three shots, two on goal, and senior Nikki Glisson|Mechanicsville (Hanover) also had three shots.  Byron played the duration in front of the net for the Lancers with three saves.
Radford, who hasn’t lost in 16 matches (12-0-4) dating back to its third game of the season on August 26, was led by Aflaki with three shots, two on goal.  Brown played the duration in front of the net with four saves for the Highlanders. 

Longwood and Radford were playing for the 10th time, and the Lancers still lead the series, 5-4-1.