MC celebrates Senior Day by clinching second
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Maryville College women secured their spot in next weekend USA South Athletic Conference Soccer Tournament Sunday with a 3-1 win over Methodist University on Senior Day to complete a busy homecoming weekend.
“We don’t control our own destiny for first but we have second wrapped up,” MC coach Pepe Fernandez told The Daily Times before word came in that Averett had avoided any let down and clinched the regular season championship and top seed in the tourney. “The top four host Saturday, who we host is the question. The final four from that go on to Martinsville (Va.) for the championship.”
Maryville (10-3-1, 8-1-1 USAC) went into Sunday’s match with a half-game lead and the head-to-head tie-breaker over third place Meredith, who lost to Averett, 2-0, Sunday. Averett’s win and Meredith’s loss locked up the top two positions up while the rest of the seeds are still up for grabs in the conference’s final play day on Wednesday.
That guarantees that no matter how the Scots fair against Ferrum in the finale there will be at least one more home game when MC hosts the No. 7 seed — possibly Piedmont, Ferrum or Greensboro — but the Scots weren’t waiting around to honor their seniors.
Ashley Howarth broke the ice in the ninth minute Sunday as the Bearden product took a pass from senior Caitlin Ramsey a body length outside the box and twisted on a spin move that circled the ball around the Methodist defender trying to front the junior. The effort shielded Howarth’s strike and the ball from the keeper, who never saw the ball until the missile was halfway into the soft right corner of the goal for the 1-0 Scot edge.
“Caitlin got the assist so she got in the action there. She’s struggled with a injury the last two years so it was nice to see her out there and contributing,” Fernandez said after he tinkered with the starting lineup to get all his seniors on the pitch to start and end the match. “Ashley’s first goal was one of the best goals we’ve had all season long.”
Howarth added a second goal in the 18th minute — to answer Methodist’s Kadie Pederson — on an assist from Sierra Siegel. Methodist (6-12, 4-6) matched Maryville with four corners on the afternoon but now must take on N.C. Wesleyan Wednesday with the eighth and final spot in the USAC tournament riding on the outcome between the North Carolina rivals.
The Scots capped off the scoring early with Siegel taking the payback pass from Howarth just after the break and netting a 3-1 MC edge in the 46th minute.
“it was a good win on senior day. It’s been a great homecoming weekend,” Fernandez said. “The girls really played extremely well, especially the seniors they’re just a fantastic group of girls.”
Sarah Hayden made nine saves for Methodist defending 17 MC shots — a dozen of them on goal while Michele Foulk made five saves for the Scots in the final regular season home game for Ramsey, Anna Erickson, Kayla Kiernozek, Kelsie Kestner, Hannah Rector and Windsor Wall.
“They’ve been a special group in several ways. They’re all out standing students. They’re all good players but very impressive in the community too. They’re in FCA, they volunteer they’ve really represented the college well,” Fernandez said of his seniors. “What I’ve told them is that I hope Maryville College has made a big impact on them because they’ve had a tremendous impact on Maryville College.”
IN THE SLING OF IT: Phoebe Leo did not play Sunday after suffering an injury in the final moments of Saturday’s win over N.C. Wesleyan. The junior forward was on the sideline in an arm sling for her shoulder.
“They think its out of socket,” Fernandez said. “She’ll get x-rays Monday and if there’s no fractures hopefully they can pop it back in, tape it up and she can play.”
Leo has started seven games for MC and played in every one until Sunday netting five goals with four of them coming in USAC play.