After already competing with Spalding University two times this season, the Greenville University women’s soccer team traveled back to Louisville, Kentucky on April 19th to compete in their SLIAC quarterfinal game. The lady panthers finished their conference season with a record of 4-4 which placed them as the fifth seed in the SLIAC conference tournament. Although the Panthers’ record may seem mediocre, the ladies were feeling confident, yet sore, entering this quarterfinal game against Spalding. Greenville was coming off of a six-game win streak and had also competed in four games in that past week. In an interview with the junior goalkeeper, Grace Gehner, she explained, “Honestly, we were feeling the effects of playing four games in six days. Our team prepared for this game by giving our bodies a chance to recover and practice positioning more than ball work.”
Throughout this current conference season, Greenville and Spalding have consistently battled each other. At the beginning of the season, the lady panthers had lost to Spalding 1-0 and returned to Spalding later to beat them 3-2 in overtime.
In the first half of the quarterfinal matchup, Greenville struggled to move the ball up the field while Spalding was connecting the dots. Spalding had the Lady Panthers on their toes for most of the half with five shots on goal compared to Greenville’s two. Junior forward, Molly McDonnell elaborated in our interview, “I feel like our team may have been overly confident going into this game because we had recently beat Spalding and we know who the better team is. I think that Spalding surprised us in the first half by outplaying us all around the field.”
As the first half carried on, Greenville reevaluated their game plan and made adjustments accordingly. The lady panthers held their composure and fought through the flagrant fouls that were being called. Gehner communicated, “It was really difficult for our team to stay positive when we were not playing our best, but we decided to come together and expose the positive aspects in order to progress as we played. This definitely aided in our success on the field as a team.” In the end, Greenville finished the second half safely with a score of 0-0.
Twelve minutes into the second half, Spalding came out stronger than before with 3 shots on goal. Greenville quickly realized what they needed to do and turned the tables on Spalding by scoring their first goal of the game. McDonnell was assisted in a beautiful goal just outside the goal box by a freshman, Emma Cadwell. Following the goal, the Lady Panthers’ momentum rapidly shifted and it was time for war. Spalding picked up the pace by outshooting Greenville in the second half 8-5.
With no time left on the clock, Spalding had one last opportunity to shoot their shot to tie up the game. However, the Lady Panthers’ goalkeeper, Grace Gehner, made a clutch save to end the game with a phenomenal win. The Greenville University women’s soccer team secured a quarterfinal win 1-0 against Spalding and will move into the semi-finals to play their rival, Fontbonne University.
Media by Jade Taylor.