One year later things were less dramatic. The Spring Arbor University women's soccer team hosted their second consecutive NAIA Opening Round match Saturday night, but instead of a 1-0 victory, which the Cougars posted last year over Siena Height University, Spring Arbor ran away with a 4-0 decision over visiting Carlow University (PA).
The match started slowly for Spring Arbor, as it was apparent right away that the visitors were preparing to play a long night of defense, commiting 10 of their 11 players to defending behind the ball from the opening whistle.
The Lady Cougars had a handful of good chances early, but it wasn't until the 14th minute of play that junior Brooklyn Morgan found senior forward behind the Carlow defense with a short flick in the penalty area. Smith blasted a right footed effort past Carlow goalkeeper Alyssa Fratto and into the roof of the net for the eventual game winner and her fifth marker of the season.
In spite of some other good chances througout the half, Spring Arbor was forced to settle for the lone tally and headed into the locker room at halftime up 1-0. SAU out-shot Carlow 10-1 in the opening half of play.
The Cougars made some halftime adjustments and came out firing in the second frame. Junior Karly Linton got things rolling when she followed up on a reboud of her own shot, sliding an unassisted right footed bullet past Fratto to give SAU some cushion in the 49th minute. Just two minutes later sophomore Megan Colby made the game 3-0 when she got on the end of a corner kick service from senior Megan Wegener and tapped the ball in from inside the Carlow six yard box. Senior Cheyenne Martinez-Trevino finished the scoring for the Lady Cougars in the 66th minute, driving home a 30 yard free kick that found the net over the top of Fratto to make the final score 4-0.
Spring Arbor was able to use all 24 available players in the contest and cruised to the victory from there. SAU finished the match with a 22-3 advantage in shots and a 14-0 advantage in corer kicks. Carlow did rack up 20 fouls to the 14 commited by SAU.
"We showed good patience against a defensive minded team tonight," commented SAU head coach Jason Crist. "Carlow is very organzied in the back and holds a lot of players back to defend. It took us some time to crack what they were doing effectively, but I think we really opened things up in the second half."
The Cougars will advance to the NAIA National Championship final site and will face off with #11 seeded Kansas Wesleyan University on Tuesday, November 27th at 1:30 p.m. EST. Kansas Wesleyan upended Benedictine 2-0 in their opening round pairing. Check back to this site for more tournament details as they become available.