BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Top-seeded
Union College moved closer to its first-ever Appalachian Athletic
Conference Tournament championship with a 3-1 win over No. 4 seed
Tennessee Wesleyan College Friday.
In what was a much tighter game than the final tally might indicate, Union netted a pair of goals in the final 16 minutes of play for the two-goal victory.
Union will face No. 3 seed Bryan (Tenn.) College, who tied No. 2 seed Milligan (Tenn.) College 0-0 in the other semifinal match but won the shootout 5-3 to advance.
The championship match is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Union's Burch/Nau Field.
After a lot of tight, back-and-forth play for much of the first half, Union drew first blood when Katarina Sprunk (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was able to get past the Tennessee Wesleyan defense down the right side of the field, find Marcela Salum (Guatemala City, Guatemala) in front of the goal who promptly set up a streaking Olivia Brock (Hebron, Ky.) to her left for an easy goal. The tally came in the 38th minute as Union took a 1-0 lead into the half.
Tennessee Wesleyan wasted little time in trying to even the score as Britten Fandrich scored just five minutes after the break, making it 1-1.
Union cranked up the pressure, getting several scoring chances. Yet, Tennessee Wesleyan Tiffani Martin was up to the task. Union got a break in the 74th minute Hannah Goins (Corbin, Ky.) was fouled just outside the 18-yard box on the left side. Renata Peixoto (Brasilia, Brazil) took the free kick and bent it just inside the left post to put Union ahead 2-1.
In the 79th minute, Fandrich picked up her second yellow card, resulting in a red card and ejection from the game. Playing a player down, Tennessee Wesleyan struggled to muster any kind of offensive attack to attempt to tie the game back up.
Meanwhile, Union took advantage of the situation and Jenn Sckirl (Edmonton, Canada) drilled home a 25-yard shot to make it 3-1 in the 88th minute.
Bryan 0, Milligan 0 (BC advances by winning shootout 5-3)
In a matchup of two quality goalkeepers, Bryan's Kara Nissley came up with one more stop than Milligan's Heather Crumpler to help send Bryan to the AAC Championship game.
Nissley and Crumpler matched each other save for save during regulation and two overtime periods with each recording 10 stops. However, Nissley made a diving stop to her left on Eeva Pankalainen's penalty kick attempt in the shootout, and that proved to be the difference as Bryan beat Crumpler on all five of their penalty kick shots.