November 3, 2012

SU drops CAC title game to Frostburg on penalty kicks

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University women's soccer team was denied in its attempt to repeat as Capital Athletic Conference champions, dropping a heart-breaking contest to Frostburg State University in the CAC championship game. The game was a 0-0 draw, with Frostburg claiming the conference championship with a 4-3 edge on penalty kicks.

The game came to a dramatic end, with Frostburg State (14-3-2) goalie Katie Smith stopping Salisbury's (11-5-2) Tabitha Brown on the fifth and final penalty kick to give the Bobcats the deciding tally on penalty kicks.

Frostburg State held a 25-21 edge in shots, gaining an 8-0 edge in the two overtime periods. Each team had eight corner kick attempts in the contest.

Sophomore Michelle Conrad, for the second straight contest, matched her career-high with eight saves.

The Sea Gulls had the two prime goal-scoring opportunities in the first half, but were unable to gain the advantage in the first 45 minutes of play. Freshman Tabitha Brown nearly put Salisbury on the board midway through the first half with a diving header that went just wide left, after a cross from classmate Heather Deamond. Nearly 16 minutes later, senior Casey Hafford put a shot on goal, with Frostburg goalie Katie Smith making the sprawling save.

Frostburg had the first scoring chance of the second half. Liz Seligman sent in a corner kick for the Bobcats nearly 12 minutes into the half and Courtney Mack got a head on the ball. Mack's header hit the crossbar and was cleared by the Sea Gull defense.

Salisbury had its prime scoring chance of the second half just two minutes later, when Deamond put a cross into the box. That cross was punched away by Smith, but right to senior Sarah Pfundstein, who put a shot on to the open net that was just left.

With less than 14 minutes remaining in the contest, Frostburg had the last scoring chance in regulation. Erin Worthman put a shot on goal that hit the crossbar, caromed to Dorie Gedridge, who was able to get off a shot that was saved by Conrad.

Neither team was able to capitalize on any attempts as the second half clocked ticked down. The first overtime was played mostly in the middle third of the field, with Frostburg registering the only shot in the first round of bonus soccer.

Frostburg went on the offensive in the second overtime period, registering all eight shots in the period. The Bobcats had the only scoring chance of the second overtime, five minutes into the period, when Seligman sent in a corner kick with Stephanie Fazenbaker getting a head on the ball, sending it just over the crossbar.

After regulation time and two overtime periods, the conference championship would be decided on penalty kicks. Frostburg started first, with Fazenbaker finding the back of the net. Senior Erin Mooney matched Fazenbaker's kick, knotting the penalty kicks at one.

Abby Aposporos gave the Bobcats a 2-1 advantage, which Katie Smith kept for her team, denying Bonnie Sandone. Frostburg's Adria Graham was up next but was unable to extend the Bobcat advantage, as her shot hit the crossbar and skipped high.

Casey Hafford was next for Salisbury, knotting the penalty kicks at two each. Quicy Hegeman and Logan O'Meara traded successful attempts, before Seligman put home the final Bobcat attempt to give Frostburg the 4-3 advantage.

Attempting to knot up the penalty kicks and send the game to sudden death attempts, Tabitha Brown was denied by Smith for the deciding tally.

With the win, Frostburg gains the CAC's automatic berth into the NCAA women's soccer tournament. Salisbury will wait for the NCAA selection show, which will take place on Monday to see if the Sea Gulls will get an at-large bid into the tournament. 

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