JOHNSON CITY, TN-It was a regular-season match that had post-season intensity.
In a tense, back-and-forth contest Sunday afternoon at Summers-Taylor Stadium, ETSU’s women’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 setback to Western Carolina in the final game of the 2017 Southern Conference schedule.
As a result, the Bucs (5-12-0, 3-6-0) will be the 8th seed in the SoCon Tournament, and will host 9th-seeded Wofford (7-10-1, 2-6-1) in a first round game on Wednesday, October 25, with kickoff time yet to be determined. The winner visits top-seeded Furman (12-2-2, 8-0-1) in the conference quarterfinals on Saturday, October 28 or Sunday, October 29.
Western Carolina (7-9-2, 4-4-1) will be the 4th seed and will host #5 VMI in the quarterfinals.
The Bucs broke through first on Sunday, when Rachel Harbin (Arlington, Tenn.) took a feed from Fiona Dodge (Pontypool, Wales) and blasted a 17-yarder to the left of Catamounts keeper Jacquelyn Gnassi at 19:06. It was Harbin’s third goal of the season and Dodge’s second assist.
ETSU’s 1-0 lead held up until WCU’s Kasey Cooke leveled the score on penalty kick at 49:10. Nineteen minutes later, Anna Marie Mellis headed in Megan McCallister’s corner kick at 68:09 to put the Catamounts ahead, 2-1.
Down a goal, the Bucs pressed the attack and very nearly drew even. Eleonora Goldoni (Ferrara, Italy) blasted a 20-yarder that flew through traffic but deflected off the right upright at 71:08. Less than four minutes later, a corner kick by Emily McKerlie (Dumfries, Scotland) resulted in two shots, but Gnassi turned aside a header from Elena Pisani (Milano, Italy), and a follow-up from Isabel Hodgson (Adelaide, Australia) went wide.
Goldoni pushed an 18-yarder wide at 76:01, and got a look on the Bucs’ last rush, but her short-range attempt with 17 seconds left was just off the mark.
The Bucs had a 14-8 advantage in shots, and 6-3 in corners.
Wednesday’s tournament matchup against Wofford will be a rematch of the sides’ regular-season meeting just nine days ago, a 3-0 result for the Terriers in Spartanburg, S.C.
Courtesy: East Tennessee State Athletics