Rollins Claims Women's Soccer Championship Title
Courtesy of Rollins Sports Information
Freshman Ali Schrader struck again for Rollins, this time scoring the lone goal in the Tars' 1-0 win over Florida Southern in Sunday's final of the 2009 Sunshine State Conference Women's Soccer Championship.
It took 13 seasons, 236 contests, 141 victories, and two regular season Sunshine State Conference championships, but on Sunday, the Rollins women's soccer team earned a first, as they become the 2009 SSC tournament champions.
To make the story even sweeter, the Tars won the milestone match-up on their home turf and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as well.
Thanks to the goal from Schrader in the 50th minute off of a throw-in from senior defender Maia Ryan, the top-seeded Tars placed another highlight in their unyielding 2009 campaign. Schrader was without a goal coming into the tournament but racked up three tallies throughout the weekend, earning Most Outstanding Player honors for her efforts.
Rollins placed five players on the All-Tournament Team. Joining Schrader were SSC Defensive Player of the Year Meagan Thomas, senior midfielder Jessica Mooney, sophomore defender Charlotte Murrell, and sophomore goalkeeper Michelle Dillingham. Also earning a spot on the squad were Florida Southern's Martina Tangen Billing, Emily Griffith, Kerri-Ann Brown, and Jackie Bachteler.
An intelligent and unfaltering back line for Rollins helped hold Florida Southern scoreless thanks to solid play from Maia Ryan, Leah Hirsch, Thomas, and Murrell, while Dillingham made four clutch saves on the afternoon to earn her 11th shutout of the season.
Florida Southern did not let the Tars take home the title so easily and put up an admirable fight throughout the entire contest. The Mocs came out firing on all cylinders, out-shooting the Tars 4-1 in the initial 20 minutes of play. Thanks to Dillingham's resolute afternoon in cage, Florida Southern was denied on all three of their attempts on frame.
Despite constant pressure from a tough Moccasin squad, Rollins was able to pick up the pace in the final 15 minutes of first-period action and turned the table at the start of the second half to set the tone for the remainder of the contest.
Just minutes into the second half, Florida Southern sent a ball over the sideline directly in front of the Rollins bench. Ryan took the throw in, finding the feet of Schrader, who worked her way around defenders to find an open shot for a hard strike on frame. Her shot failed to find its true potential and was almost saved by FSC goalkeeper Martina Tangen Billing, but her diving save attempt did not have enough gusto, allowing Schrader's ball to trickle just past her fingers into the left corner.
Rollins led the shot count on the afternoon 10-7, while both teams matched-up in shots on goal 4-4, as well as corner opportunities 3-3.
With the victory, Rollins earns an automatic bid into the upcoming South Region Tournament, making it the second straight year the Tars have earned a spot in the NCAA playoffs.
Sites and match-ups will be announced Monday at 7:00 p.m. The selection show will be streamed live on NCAA.com.