MOUNT OLIVE, North Carolina– The top-seeded University of Mount Olive women's soccer won the 2019 Conference Carolinas Championship 2-1 over the No. 2 seeded Crusaders of Belmont Abbey College at Amon Field Sunday night in Mount Olive, N.C. The win secures the Trojans an automatic berth to the NCAA DII Tournament for the first time in school history.
The Trojans and Crusaders were in a deadlock battle for most of the first period until Belmont Abbey snuck away with a late goal in the 42nd minute to take a 1-0 advantage into the break.
Coming out of the intermission Mount Olive picked up the pace being down a goal. After a BAC shot in the 52nd minute, the Trojans went onto fire in three shots over the next 11 minutes. This pace far outplayed the first period and it wasn't long before UMO found the equalizer.
In the 65th minute, Ashley Lindsey struck a ball perfectly in front of Emily Sanders who put a great spin on the ball hitting right under the crossbar over top of a diving Crusader keeper to knot the game.
Once the game hit the 70th minute a barrage of shots came from both offenses, 10 over the next 12 minutes, as the two teams tried to find the game-winner. On a Crusader goal kick Mount Olive won the header and found Sara Berglund all alone on a breakaway and the junior popped the ball over the charging keeper and gave UMO the 2-1 lead. Belmont Abbey recorded one final shot in the 85th minute but with the crowd at Amon Field cheering the Trojans on Mount Olive won the 2019 Conference Carolinas Women's Soccer Championship.
Mount Olive was led by Sara Berglund who got the game-winner for UMO on just her second shot of the game. Emily Sanders also added the tying goal for the Trojans and led the team in shots with five.
Taylor Lewis (13-0-3) in goal for the Trojans recorded four saves on five shots in between the posts.
Belmont Abbey was led by Allyson Elliot who scored the lone goal for the Crusaders.
The following Trojans were named to the all-tournament team:
"Words cannot describe the joy and pride I get from coaching such an amazing group of young women. I've never coached a team that has the sheer will power this group does. Since day one they refused to accept they were anything but champions and today they showed the world what we have the honor of seeing on a daily basis. It's a special group of soccer players, but an even more remarkable group of people. So so proud of my girls," said head coach Sharif Saber.
"We were being pressed by BA a lot the first half, it was hard. And unfortunately they managed to get one goal in the net before half time.
I say unfortunately but I honestly think it help us, for some reason when we are under the most pressure we are able to come back up from the hole we put ourselves in. Second half was pure determination of winning, there's nothing this team can't do, our mindsets are to strong for giving up.
The season has been great. Over any of our expectations. But like I said before. We are a team that never stops working, the determination of succeeding overcomes every fear. Losing is not an option for us," said junior Sara Berglund.
"The game last night was just crazy. It's something we've been working on since preseason and telling our selves we were capable of winning the whole thing. I'm so proud of my team they deserve it all," said senior Aimee Darrow.
Up Next: Mount Olive with the win advances to the NCAA DII National Championship and will head to a site TBD to play in the opening round of the regional playoffs for the first time in program history. The NCAA Selection Show will take place Monday, November 18 at 6 p.m. on NCAA.com.