DeLAND, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2009) - Needing a win to make its fifth straight appearance in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, the ETSU women's soccer team fell one game short of its goal with a 7-0 season-ending loss at league rival Stetson Sunday afternoon in Deland, Fla.
With the defeat the Bucs close 2009 with a 5-12-0 overall record and a 4-5 mark in A-Sun play, while the Hatters - who will be seeded third in the postseason field -- improved to 10-6-2, with a 6-5-2 record in conference competition.
"We knew coming into today that we had to have a win to make the tournament," said head coach Heather Henson. "All our players fought hard this afternoon and never gave up despite the score. This is a team that has had a lot of character and toughness throughout this season and I hate that our team fell just short of our goal this last match."
Stetson opened the score early as senior forward Heather Berg played an over-the-top pass to junior midfielder Katie Bitetto, who beat a ETSU defender one-on-one for the matches' opening goal in the 12th minute.
After four ETSU shots were denied midway through the first half, the Hatters attack was at it again as sophomore midfielder Sara Rodriguez played a long pass to teammate Natalie Simon, who beat ETSU sophomore keeper Megan Masch (Virginia Beach, Va.), with a shot into the left corner of the net with minute remaining in the half.
As both teams opened play in the second period Stetson added to its lead as Hatter sophomore midfielder Crossley Simmons headed home her second goal of the season off a cross from senior midfielder Emily Ware in the 54th minute.
With the Stetson lead at 3-0, the Bucs had to push its offense forward in order to try to gain some ground, however with this aggressiveness, Hatter forward Heather Berg countered with a offensive assail of her own. The Hatter senior fired home four consecutive goals in a 28 minute stretch as Stetson closed out the regular season with the seven-goal victory.
Individually, ETSU junior forward Rachel Van Horn (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), led the Buc offense with three shots, while Masch closed out the fall with seven more saves, giving the second-year starter 125th for the season.
"Julie (Stetson's head coach) does a great job with their program," Henson said. "Today was one of those times when they (Stetson) were able to convert on some opportunities that came as our backs moved forward to play the ball into our offensive third. That being said, anytime you lose a match it's tough. This is a group of girls that have dedicated themselves to be the best players they possibly can be every match and unfortunately, today the ball didn't bounce our way."
With the 2009 season now in the books, the ETSU women's soccer program closes the chapter on three outstanding Buc careers in seniors Kim Jones (Springfield, Va.), Kia Kindell (Westerchester, Ohio) and Jordan Monty (Mesquite, Texas).
"Kim, Kia and Jordan have been a joy to coach these last four years," said Henson. "All three ladies are true student-athletes. On the field they have brought so much to our program with the dedication, leadership and charisma that each of them embodied everytime they set foot on the field. With each of them setting their mark in the program's record book throughout their career, the thing I'm most proud of is watching them grow as players and leaving ETSU with their degrees this May. I know our entire team and staff wishes them well and I would like them to know that they will truly be missed at ETSU."
For more information on the ETSU women's soccer team please visit www.ETSUBucs.com. Also you can follow daily post and updates on the official ETSU women's soccer team Twitter page at www.twitter.com/ETSUSoccer.