Women's Soccer Team's Best Season In Four Years Comes To Rainy End

Women's Soccer Team's Best Season In Four Years Comes To Rainy End

University of Mount Olive's best season in four years came to an end Monday as the third-seeded Trojans fell to No. 6 seed Pfeiffer University 3-0 in the first round of the 2015 Conference Carolinas Women's Soccer Tournament. The match was played at CASL Field in Raleigh, N.C., instead of Amon Field on the UMO campus due to field conditions caused by heavy rain and throughout the morning. Monday's contest was played in a light, but steady rainfall.

Mount Olive (9-6-2) had shut out Pfeiffer 4-0 in the two teams' regular season meeting, but the Falcons needed only 62 seconds to get on the scoreboard Monday. Aaliyah Jackson played a ball into the box to Miracle Campbell, who had an open shot directly in front of the goal. Stephanie Hardig converted a penalty kick at the 33:32 mark to give Pfeiffer (8-8-2) a 2-0 halftime lead and Jackson added a goal of her own at 80:36 to cap the scoring.

The Trojans nearly evened the match in the 25th minute when Lauren Power crossed the ball into the box from the left corner. Nichole Poppe slid for what would have been an open shot, but the ball was just inches out of reach. Mount Olive had another scoring opportunity in the 70th minute after a free kick by Christine Rocchio from 10 yards inside the midfield line. Rocchio's service went off Pfeiffer goalkeeper Deidre Gilley, but deflected off a Trojan player out of bounds, resulting in a goal kick for Pfeiffer. Gilley recorded second-half saves on close-range shots by Poppe and Alex Wetherholt.

Trojan goalkeeper Stephanie McCoy finished with four saves and defender Kristin Power stopped a point-blank shot with a kick save in the first half. Gilley recorded three saves for Pfeiffer. The two teams were tied with eight shots apiece until the Falcons recorded all of the match's final six shot attempts.

Ironically, the last time Mount Olive was the higher seed and home team for a first round match in the Conference Carolinas Women's Soccer Tournament, the opponent was Pfeiffer and the match was also played in the rain. The Trojans lost that 2011 contest 1-0.

Despite the loss, Reid Clewis became the first head women's soccer coach in Mount Olive history to post a winning record in his first season.

"The girls worked extremely hard all year and did everything I asked of them," said Clewis. "We achieved our goal of finishing in the top four in the conference. Unfortunately, things didn't go our way today, but I'm proud of what the team accomplished this season."

Monday's contest marked the final match in a Trojan uniform for 10 seniors: Ellie Barnes, Kelsey Cirrito, Sydney Nelson, Hope Perry, Lauren Power, Maddy Robak, Christine Rocchio, Madeline Russell, Jen Sickles and Niza Vera.