Lady Sailfish Net Big Victory in Opening Round of NCCAA South Regional
November 21, 2008
Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Hosting the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Regional soccer tournament for the first time, the Palm Beach Atlantic University women’s soccer team came away with an opening round win as the #2-seeded Sailfish took down #3-seeded North Greenville University by a final score of 3-1.
The victory puts the Sailfish in the South Regional final on Saturday afternoon as they will take on Southern Wesleyan University in championship final. The #1-seeded Warriors received a first-round bye and will take on PBA at 12 pm at Magic Jack Field.
Playing in front of a nice size crowd at Magic Jack Field, the Fish wasted no time pushing ahead of the visiting Crusaders as senior midfielder Jessica Rodriguez blasted home an unassisted goal just under three minutes into the game which was the first of two first-half goals the Fish would score.
“Today’s performance was exciting, although we saw only three goals on the scoreboard we know that five goals went into the back of the net,” said head coach James Kryger.
“With that said we finished really well, defended as normal with great energy and fought against a great North Greenville team. I am very excited with our team and we will be happy to be in the finals tomorrow,” continued Kryger.
After Rodriguez’ goal staked PBA to the 1-0 lead, the Fish knew it would need more than that offensively to hold off a strong NGU squad.
The Sailfish next goal would come from an unlikely source as freshman midfielder Jennifer Hendriksen blasted a ball approximately 35 yards out as the crowd watched the ball sail over the head of NGU goalkeeper Jessica Binkely and into the back of the net. The first career collegiate goal for Hendriksen could not have come at a better time as PBA entered halftime with a 2-0 advantage.
Things got even more exciting for PBA fans in the second-half as junior goalkeeper Ashley Morrell stopped the first serious scoring threat of the day for North Greenville when she made an excellent diving save after the Crusaders were awarded a penalty kick.
That big save proved even more crucial as NGU got themselves on the board when Leah Ward took advantage of a defensive miscue and a failed clearance by the Sailfish backline as she came away with a goal in the 57th minute and cutting the Fish lead in half.
PBA responded in due time however as seniors Katy Birkhead and Lindsey Bates connected in the 62nd minute as a beautiful Birkhead through ball made its way through the Crusaders defense as Bates dribbled around the keeper for an easy score and a cushioned PBA lead.
From that point on both teams would battle but neither would come away with a goal as PBA ended the 2008 soccer season for North Greenville with the 3-1 victory.
The Fish ended the game holding the statistical advantage in nearly every category as they out shot NGU 12-7 while also holding the 6-2 corner kick lead. Both teams were whistled for eight fouls while PBA was called four an uncharacteristic seven offside’s penalties.