Howard's Game Winner Propels Women's Soccer to Championship
With AsburyEagles.com writer Matthew Hunter
WILMORE, Ky. - Asbury University (10-8), the number one seed in the KIAC tournament, held off a valiant effort from the underdogs in Cincinnati Christian with a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.
Two freshmen, Shanda Painter and Toria Howard, netted the goals for the Eagles. Jenna Bird and Casey Greer both contributed assists.
The Eagles from Asbury came out of the locker room firing from every angle. Junior Meredith Ury and freshman Shanda Painter narrowly missed shots to open up the game, but the missing wouldn’t become a theme.
Painter would put the hosts on the board first with her 13th tally of the season in the 18th minute. Painter started with the ball at midfield, then turned to sophomore Jenna Bird by leading her with a great pass toward the corner. Bird, who is known for finding teammates in the box at the right time, found Painter sprinting down the middle of the pitch which she struck in for a goal. The goal increased Bird’s team-leading assist total to seven on the year.
The Eagles continued to their solid attacking as senior Casey Greer dribbled down the left side of the pitch, zipped the ball into Painter who touched it in for the Eagles second goal of the half. Painter’s second goal marked her fourteenth on the season, almost tripling the team’s second leading scorer and giving her 29 points on the season.
Asbury headed into halftime with the score and momentum well in their favor and would seem to cruise to victory.
But, the Eagles from Cincinnati Christian wouldn’t go down without a fight. Sophomore Lauren Wisecup scored an early second half goal after the Asbury defenders lost her in a scramble for the ball. She snuck the ball through a mess of defenders near the front of the net in the 50th minute to pull the visitors to within one.
Cincinnati Christian continued their turn around from a poor first half to knot the game up at two apiece with a goal from junior Natalie Reid in the 58th minute. Owens passed it into Reid who kicked the ball in after it took an awkward bounce to beat Eagles goalie Lizzie Hoffa.
With roughly 30 minutes to play, Asbury would need to regroup seize their opponent’s momentum.
Painter, who has been the go-to scorer all night and season, was the presumed player coach Brooke Lincoln would go to for a goal. But with all eyes on Painter, fellow freshman Toria Howard scored the game-winning goal for her team.
After a foul from one Cincinnati Christian backline defender Asbury was awarded a free kick with just under 25 minutes left just outside the box. Howard’s attempt curved just left of the defending wall to beat the keeper and put the Eagles up for good.
Asbury tightened up on defense and continued to get chances in the second half to advance on to the next one.
Asbury advances to play Point Park—after the Pioneers advanced via PKs against Carlow in the other semifinal games—on November 9th here in Wilmore. In addition, the Eagles notched their 10th win on the year and they remain undefeated against KIAC competition at 7-0.