WOMEN'S SOCCER SET TO FACE LENOIR-RHYNE IN SAC QUARTERFINALNovember 3, 2008GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum College women’s soccer team has earned the fifth seed in this week’s South Atlantic Conference women’s soccer tournament, and will travel to Hickory, N.C. on Tuesday to face a Lenoir-Rhyne University squad which defeated the Pioneers 3-1 in Saturday’s regular season finale to claim the fourth seed.
The match features the two most potent offenses in the conference this season, as Tusculum led the league with 53 goals scored followed closely by Lenoir-Rhyne with 52. Tuesday’s contest will also showcase the three top goals scorers in the SAC this season, as Tusculum’s Danielle Tanner and Kelly Barron, along with Lenoir-Rhyne’s Laura Linehan, posted three of the four 10-goal campaigns in the conference.
The Pioneers have posted a 5-3 mark in their last eight matches, including a 2-1 extra time victory against Catawba College that featured Tanner’s seventh multi-goal contest of the season. Tusculum began its season with a 2-3-1 mark in its first six matches, falling to Georgia College & State and defending national champion Tampa at the Lady Cougar Invitational in Columbus, Ga.
The black and orange began to turn its season around with a three-match winning streak against Southern Virginia (Sep. 17), Lincoln Memorial (Sep. 24), and Brevard (Sep. 27) to improve to 5-3-1 heading into a road match against Carson-Newman. After dropping two consecutive SAC matches to Carson-Newman and Newberry, the Pioneers outscored their opponents 11-3 in their next four matches to improve to 9-5-1 overall and 4-2 in the conference. TC enters this week’s SAC Tournament with a 1-3 record in its last four contests which includes a pair of league losses to Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne.
Several Pioneers enter the conference tournament among the statistical leaders in both the SAC and NCAA Division II, including, Tanner, the SAC’s leading scorer. The senior forward has scored two or more goals in eight matches this season, including two hat tricks against Mount Olive (Aug. 31) and Southern Virginia (Sep. 17). Tanner and Barron, a fellow senior, are ranked first and third in the conference with 21 and 14 goals, respectively. The two forwards are also first and third in points with 49 and 31 markers, respectively. Tanner also ranks among the top 10 scorers in the nation with her 21 goals and 49 points this season. Freshman midfielder Michelle Meade, senior Nicole Ferris, and Tanner are also ranked among the conference leaders in assists as Meade is second in the SAC with nine, while Tanner and Ferris are tied for third with seven helpers each.
Lenoir-Rhyne began the season with a five-match winning streak, outscoring its opponents 27-3 during that span that included a 2-1 win over Brevard to open conference play. Following the three-game losing streak against a pair of non-conference opponents and eventual conference champion Carson-Newman, the Bears went on a four-match winning streak against several region teams to improve to 9-3 entering their Oct. 3 matchup with Catawba. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw in the match, dropping L-R to 1-1-1 in the conference.
The Bears enter this Tuesday’s match having won three of their last four matches, including a pair of 3-1 victories over Newberry and TC in conference play to claim the fourth seed in the SAC Tournament. Saturday’s match featured a pair of goals by Linehan, who moved past TC’s Barron into second in the conference with 16 goals this season. The freshman midfielder is also second in th