Wofford College has a stingy defense, ranking No. 18 in the country in goals-against average. The Elon University women’s soccer team has a high-powered offense ranking No. 6 in the country in scoring offense. Something had to give.
On a 25-yard strike in the 54th minute of play in the Southern Conference Tournament semifinals Friday, Nov. 8, senior forward Catherine Brinkman found the top right corner of goal to give the Phoenix a 1-0 victory. The goal was her seventh of the season.
Defensively, the Terriers kept Elon at bay in the first half. Elon only got off two shots, neither of which were on frame, and one corner kick.
Out of halftime, Brinkman had a great chance to put Elon on the board on a cross from senior forward Jennifer McGorty, but her chance went high of goal.
Elon almost put the game out of reach in the 86th minute when sophomore forward Nicole Dennion, the SoCon Player of the Year, was taken down in the box. Brinkman stepped up to take the penalty kick, but her attempt went high to keep the game at 1-0.
The lead was never in much jeopardy, though, as Wofford couldn’t get a shot off in the closing minutes thanks to tough defense from the Phoenix.
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Elon moves on to face No. 1 Furman University in the finals of the tournament. The Paladins beat No. 6 Samford University 2-0 in the first semifinal of the day.
In the regular season, Elon handed Furman its only regular season conference loss with a 4-3 win on Rudd Field Oct. 13. In the match, freshman Kelly Siewers scored twice in the final 12 minutes to give Elon the victory. The goals were her only two of the season.
Neither Dennion or Furman sophomore forward Stephanie DeVita scored in the game. They are the Southern Conference’s two leading scorers. After Friday’s semifinal, DeVita trails Dennion 15-14 in goals scored this season. Both scored two in the SoCon quarterfinal matchups Sunday, Nov. 3.
Kick between Elon and Furman is set for 1 p.m. from Snyder Field on Wofford’s campus. The winner of the match receives the Southern Conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Elon has been to the tournament once before when it won the 1999 Big South Conference tournament over Liberty University.
Sunday's game will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Game highlights courtesy of Elon Athletics: