Throw everything you learned from the regular season out the door. It’s tournament time. Welcome to…October?
That’s right. Welcome to the madness that is the Southern Conference women’s soccer tournament.
Sunday marked the first round of the tournament that saw the regular season conference champion University of North Carolina at Greensboro take on eighth seeded Georgia Southern University in Greensboro, N.C. The Spartans defeated the Eagles on Oct. 14 by a final of 1-0. Sunday, the Eagles upset the Spartans on an 89th minute goal that denied the regular season champions a trip to Birmingham, Ala., next weekend for the semifinals.
Second-seeded Samford University matched up against the College of Charleston Cougars. The first time around, the Bulldogs bested the Cougars 1-0. This time around, the Cougars got a late strike in the 84th minute from freshman Jackie Weston to beat Samford 2-1 and send them to Birmingham for the wrong reason: back home.
Starting to see a trend here?
Fourth seeded Appalachian State University hosted the Elon Phoenix in Boone, N.C. The Mountaineers defeated the Phoenix the first time around on the first weekend of conference play 2-1 in overtime. But like the game above, the Phoenix got revenge on Appalachian State with a 1-0 win to advance to Birmingham.
The only top seed to survive the day was the third seeded Furman Paladins, and even so, the Davidson Wildcats did not go quietly. After taking a 3-0 lead just 23 minutes into the game, Davidson kept the Paladins off the scoreboard for the rest of the afternoon. The Wildcats got a goal in the 67th minute, then another in the 89th minute to draw within one, but it was too late and the comeback attempt failed.
On Friday night, the Phoenix will take on Georgia Southern while Furman will take on the College of Charleston for the chance at a conference tournament championship.
It’s easy to look back at the first matchup between these teams and attempt to predict a winner from that game, but this is the postseason. Those games are totally irrelevant now.
“Georgia Southern just beat Davidson to get into the tournament, and then they beat the No. 1 seed (UNCG) on the road,” Elon head coach Chris Neal said. “Anyone on our team that’s looking past this team might need a good slap before Friday night.”
So while the weather might be getting cold instead of heating up like it would during the other madness tournament just five months from now, there’s business to attend to down in Alabama. I’m not even going to attempt to guess who will win either game because, lets face it, anything and everything can happen.
Welcome to October, women’s soccer style.