Painter Scores Twice, Eagles Win Championship
WILMORE, Ky. - The Eagles' Shanda Painter doesn't seem to know how to score just one goal in a game. Painter tallied in six games this season and in just one, back on September 7, did the freshman forward not score two or more goals.
Painter was back at it again in Saturday's KIAC Championship game as she led her Eagles to a 2-1 win over the visiting Point Park Pioneers to advance on to the NAIA National Tournament for the first time via automatic bid in program history. She tallied the go-ahead goal in the 62nd minute on an assist from teammate Meredith Ury and then scored the game winner with the game knotted at one in the 79th minute.
"I told her at halftime that if she found even a little bit of space she needed to turn around and take a rip, and that's just what she did," head coach Brooke Lincoln said following the game. "She's a player that has huge potential and has really stepped up for us this year in times that we've needed it."
The Eagles needed it Saturday.
Despite great chances from Ury and Jenna Bird the Eagles and Pioneers went into the halftime break nil-nil. After Painter's first tally, the Eagles sat with just a 1-0 lead headed into the game's final 25 minutes and seemed content to weather the Pioneers' attacking opportunities and ride the 1-0 lead to the finish. But a misplayed ball from an Eagles' defender found the foot of the Pioneers' Louise Delaney who pooched the ball over the Eagles' Lizzie Hoffa and into the back of the net for the equalizer.
The Pioneers erupted in jubilation as they gained a point on the board and a big shift in momentum. They controlled the tempo over the next few minutes as the Eagles tried to regroup.
Lincoln had faith in her team, however.
"Over the last three or four games we've shown that we can find ways to win ball games," she said. "Look at the game against Cincinnati Christian [in the KIAC semifinal game] and you'll see that we gave up a two-goal lead but regrouped and found a way to win. I knew we would give it our all to do that again today."
The hosts indeed did regroup as they would turn the tables on the Pioneers in the 79th minute. Painter received a pass from teammate Maddye Hahn, split two Point Park defenders and let one fly from just inside the top of the box. The shot would find net just under the crossbar and inside the right post for an Eagles' celebration of their own. It was all the Eagles would need.
Painter's tally brought her season total to 16 and was her fourth for the conference tournament. Lizzie Hoffa picked up her 11th win on the season as she turned in a four-save performance.
The Eagles will now turn their focus on the NAIA Tournament as they await their seeding to find out exactly who, when, and where they will play next. (The selection for the NAIA tournament will happen November 17.)
Until then the Eagles will celebrate their first automatic bid to the NAIA Tournament.
For more information on the NAIA Tournament please click here. For more on Asbury women's soccer and Asbury athletics follow the Eagles on Twitter (@Asbury_Eagles) or on Facebook (Asbury Eagles).