Women’s soccer edged 1-0 by Owls in ASUN semifinals

Women’s soccer edged 1-0 by Owls in ASUN semifinals

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Bellarmine University women’s soccer team’s run in the ASUN Tournament ended Sunday in the semifinals, as Kennesaw State scored in the second half and held off a hard charge by the Knights to claim a 1-0 victory at the FGCU Soccer Complex.

After recording a hat trick in a 4-3 quarterfinal win over Central Arkansas, Macie Rainwater netted the game-winning goal for East three-seed Kennesaw State (9-7-2) against West four-seed Bellarmine (4-7-8).

In the 74th minute, Rainwater intercepted a pass, dribbled right and unloaded a rocket from about 25 yards that found its way under the crossbar and into the net. It boosted her team-leading goal total to seven on the season.

Bellarmine didn’t go away quietly. For the briefest of moments, it appeared as if the Knights had tied the contest when senior midfielder Sarah Buse drove in a carom off a corner kick with less than five minutes left, but the whistle had already started blowing for a foul on Bellarmine as the KSU goalkeeper went down during the play.

Not much later, junior midfielder Brielle Heuglin made a terrific cross toward the back post, but the pass barely eluded the touch of an open Knights attacker. Bellarmine would take three corner kicks inside the last five minutes, including one just before time expired, but the Knights couldn’t find the equalizer.

With both teams coming off a single day of rest, the contest was largely controlled by the defenses. There were only 11 total shots between the two squads, with Kennesaw State holding a 7-4 advantage.

Bellarmine advanced after eliminating East one-seed FGCU behind a 4-3 count in a PK shootout.

“I’m so proud of our young ladies, their fight, and the progress we’ve made,” Knights Coach Chris Tinius said. “We feel like we had a chance to win every game for the last month, and we went a step further in tournament play. Getting the result on Friday was a huge step for our program. Getting two like that in the same weekend is the next step, and we were close. It will be exciting to see what comes next as the young ones keep working to improve.”

Bellarmine earned a berth in the ASUN Tournament in both seasons since moving up to Division I.

“To our older players that are leaving, what an impact they’ve had,” Tinius said. “We are so appreciative of their work and contributions. Wherever this program is in five years, they are part of it. I will be forever thankful for my time with them.

“I also want to thank our soccer staff and support staff in athletics and across campus. This is a collaborative effort and our team appreciates everything that goes on behind the scenes.

“Finally, as always, thank you to my family for all their support. They put up with my crazy schedule to let me do what I do. I love you guys.”

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