Golden Eagles clinch third-ever regular season title, top seed in upcoming tournament
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. -- The No. 18 John Brown University women's soccer team scored a pair of goals just before the half, and the Golden Eagles relied on a team effort in a 2-0 shutout of Texas Wesleyan on Thursday (Oct. 27) afternoon at Alumni Field, vaulting JBU to its third-ever Sooner Athletic regular season title.
With three-time SAC Defensive Player of the Year Kristen Morency out of the lineup, freshman Kathryn Huff stepped into the goal for her first career start, and with the aid of a staunch back line, collected a trio of saves to land the shutout.
Composed primarily of sophomore Anne Metz, sophomore Annika Bos, junior Samantha Weber, senior Sarah Abbott and freshman Hannah Sweaney, the last line of defense blocked seven of TWU's 12 attempts towards Huff. The Rams (9-5-1, 6-1-1 SAC) had its 10-match unbeaten streak snapped as JBU collected its first conference title since 2009.
Before this afternoon, the Golden Eagles had won a pair of regular season titles in three seasons, earning crowns in 2007 and 2009.
"I was really proud of our girls today," said head coach Kathleen Paulsen, who added a regular season title to her 2013 tournament championship. "Today is what you call a team win. A lot of different people stepped up in really different roles for use and showed up big. That was the best team I have seen this year."
While John Brown (14-1-1, 8-0-0) out-shot the visitors 24-12, the hosts didn't find the back of the net until the 36th minute. Senior Sara Lachance, who continues to haunt the Rams, beat her defender deep down the left flank before sending a centering pass into the box. A TWU defender missed a chance to clear the ball, and sophomore Jastin Redman was there on the doorstep to tap in her 12th of the season.
Not five minutes later, the Golden Eagles doubled its lead on a gem of an individual effort from freshman Kristen Howell. Pressuring her defender, Howell stole possession back for JBU, then beat the same defender again before making another miss. By this time she was in the box, cutting to the outside of the right corner. Before her angle closed on TWU keeper Nikki Lockwood, Howell unleashed a shot to the far left post, providing the Golden Eagles an insurance marker.
JBU has now won 10 straight contests and has not suffered a regulation loss all season.
Sophomore Aspen Robinson led all players with eight shots while Redman attempted seven. Samantha Moore launched five shots in the loss for Wesleyan.
Lockwood finished the match with six saves in goal for the visitors.
With the tournament's top seed wrapped up, the Golden Eagles will now look to complete its second-ever undefeated SAC regular season when Southwestern A.G. (Texas) visits Alumni Field on Saturday (Oct. 29). Kick off is slated for 1 p.m.