11/02/05 — Trojan women begin CVAC title defense in dominating fashion

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Trojan women begin CVAC title defense in dominating fashion

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on November 2, 2005 2:01 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive's women's soccer teams' Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference tournament, first-round game against Erskine (S.C.) had all the makings on paper for a closely contested matchup.

After all, the two squads -- separated by just two games in the conference standings -- played an overtime match earlier this season, won 2-1 by the Trojans.

The result at Trojan Field on Tuesday afternoon proved to be much different.

Mount Olive, the defending tournament champions, jumped out to a 6-0 lead with five different players scoring in a dominant first-half performance as the Trojans advanced to the CVAC semifinals with a 7-1 victory over the Flying Fleet.

No. 4 seeded Mount Olive (13-8) will take on top-seeded Pfeiffer (14-4) on Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Belmont Abbey College.

The winner advances to the championship game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the same site. The Trojans defeated the Falcons 3-0 on Sept. 21 at home -- Pfeiffer's only CVAC loss.

"We're playing a team that we beat, and I'm sure they (Pfeiffer) will be fired up," Mount Olive coach Chris Shaw said. "I think some teams over-looked us last year, and there could be a little of that happening this year. But, for whatever reason we seem to play better during the tournament."

No. 2 Belmont Abbey will face No. 3 Barton in the other semifinal at 1:30 p.m. as the top four seeds won their first-rounders on Tuesday.

Erskine finished the season at 9-11-1 overall after a 6-5 mark in CVAC play.

In a first half that saw the Trojans dominate most of the possession with a crisp passing game, freshman Lyndsay Brennan scored twice, while Jackie Jiminez (Fr.), April Jacbs (So.), Kate Painter (So.) and Jessica Smoot (Fr.) posted one goal each. Smoot also added three assists before intermission as Brennan dished out two assists. Painter and Britney Robich (Fr.) had one assist each.

Mount Olive, which finished 8-3 in the CVAC, was particularly effective working the ball out to outside forwards, Painter and sophomore Emily Escolas, in the early and middle stages of the half. As soon as the Fleet began putting more focus on the wings, it seemed to open up more room in the middle for Jacobs and Brennan to dribble through the middle as the Trojans continued to pressure in their attacking third of the field.

"It's his (Shaw) strategy and it works," said Painter, who now has four goals and five assists on the year. "The other teams have no idea what to do against us. I just went wide and it opened up the space for our midfielders and forward to run through."

Meanwhile, Mount Olive's defense, keyed by sophomore sweeper Caitlyn Wright, consistently marked Erskine's strikers and cleared out any loose balls in the box. The Trojans' starting goalie, Heather Ulep (Fr.), wasn't tested in the first half as Mount Olive went to intermission with a 10-0 lead in shots taken.

By games end, the Trojans held their 10th opponent to one goal or less.

Two minutes into the second half, the Fleet struck for their lone goal when Anna Weldon scored on a cross off of a corner kick from the right side by Aisha Reid as Erskine, which outshot Mount Olive 4-2 in the second half, seemed to play with more offensive intensity during the final frame.

"The second half was a little sloppy, but I think that's because it was 6-0 and the girls though the game was over," Shaw said. "I tried to tell them that it wasn't over, but we'll take 7-1 any day."

Just over 15 minutes after Weldon's goal, Painter struck for Mount Olive's final tally -- knocking in a shot left-footed on a cross by leading scorer Gina Dos Santos to make it 7-1.

"I think we're starting to get it together now," Painter said. "7-1, so obviously we're clicking. We know it's playoffs, and we know it's the time to pick it up."

Notes: Brennan, now with 14 goals and 10 assists, has scored a goal in five-straight matches ... Jacobs, Smoot and Jiminez now have five goals apiece, while Smoot has now dished out 10 assists ... The goal total was Mount Olive's fourth highest of the season ... The Trojans are outscoring teams by over 2.5 goals per game heading into the second round of the CVAC tourney ... Mount Olive snapped a two-game losing streak overall after one-goal defeats at Catawba and Barton.