BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Armed with a potent offense and backed by a solid defense, Union College shut out visiting Tennessee Wesleyan College 2-0 Monday to clinch the 2009 Appalachian Athletic Conference regular-season championship.
"I am extremely proud of the girls and what we've been able to accomplish this year," said Union coach Jason Lanham. "I could go on and on about all we've been able to do, but the girls have come to play. They've worked hard and played hard every day.
"It's been fun to work with a group like this."
The league title is the first for the Lady Bulldogs (12-2 overall, 6-0 AAC) since 2003. Union went on to advance to the NAIA National Championship Tournament that year as well.
Union can finish the year undefeated in conference play with a win against Reinhardt (Ga.) College on Oct. 31.
The Lady Bulldogs maintained steady pressure early on in the game, but it was not until Ashley Hall (Hazard, Ky.) weaved her way through the Tennessee Wesleyan defense and deposited the ball past goalkeeper Tiffani Martin in the 33rd minute.
After being up 1-0 at the half, Union continued to mount pressure in the second half but struggled to pad its lead. In the 75th minute, Hall sent a nice crossing pass about four yards in front of the net, yet Martin snagged the ball before Marcela Salum (Guatemala City, Guatemala) was able to get a foot on it.
Salum, though, set up Renata Peixoto (Brasilia, Brazil) for the game's second goal in the 88th minute, making the final 2-0.
Union outshot Tennessee Wesleyan 13-7 and had eight shots on goal to the visitor's three. Patricia Nardy (Sao Paulo, Brazil) made three saves in recording her fourth shutout of the season.
"Our defense was huge. We're going to score with the forwards we've got, but our defense is really good," said Lanham. "I can not say enough about the play of Jessica Brandner (Independence, Ky.). She marked Helen Collins, who is one of the best players in the league, and did not allow her to get a good shot off all day."
Union returns to action Saturday when it plays host to Brescia (Ky.) University at 2 p.m.
Lady Bulldog Notes
- Union now has won 18 home matches in a row. The last time the Lady Bulldogs lost a home game came to King (Tenn.) College in a 5-2 decision on Oct. 14, 2007.
- Ashley Hall and Renata Peixoto both have scored 11 goals on the season.
- Hall has now had the game-winning goal in each of the last three games.