ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – For the fourth straight year, Spring Arbor University has punched its ticket to the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Semifinals after earning a hard-fought 2-1 win over No. 9 ranked Benedictine College (Kan.) on Wednesday at the Orange Beach SportsPlex.
FINAL SCORE: No. 2 Spring Arbor 2, No. 9 Benedictine
LOCATION: Orange Beach SportsPlex | Orange Beach, Ala.
RECORDS: Spring Arbor 20-1-1, Benedictine 20-2-2
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Wednesday’s rematch between top-seeded Spring Arbor and Benedictine lived up to the excitement of last year’s national tournament championship game.
- Benedictine applied pressure right out of the gate, recording four shots in the first 11 minutes of the contest, but the Spring Arbor defense stood tall and weathered the early storm.
- The tide turned moments later when Bethany Balcer found the back of the net in the 19th minute. Lauren Orr stepped in front of a Raven pass at midfield and flicked it on to Makenzie Selvius, who set up Balcer’s blast from 25 yards out, which snuck just inside the post.
- That was how the score stayed until the 59th minute when Balcer notched her second goal of the game, dribbling around a pair of defenders before slipping a shot past the diving goalkeeper.
- Benedictine got back in the game with a goal from Nicole Kelly in the 73rd minute.
- The Ravens searched desperately for an equalizer in the closing minutes of the match, but SAU goalkeeper Allison Keizer made two big saves to help seal the win.
- Spring Arbor was outshot for just the third time this season, 17-15, but the Cougars recorded five corner kicks to the Ravens’ one.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- Spring Arbor secured its fourth straight trip to the national semifinals and fifth all-time.
- Benedictine’s goal broke a streak of three straight shutouts for SAU. It was just the seventh goal conceded by the Cougars all season – the fewest in the NAIA this season.
- Balcer recorded her 30th goal of the season. She has now scored at least 30 goals in each of her four seasons.
Spring Arbor will meet Keiser University in the tournament semifinals on Friday, Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. ET.