LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant women's soccer team put together another strong season in 2017, which culminated in an 11-7-1 record, a 5-2 conference record and a trip to the USA South Tournament semifinals.
It was the 21st winning season in the program's 24-year history, and the 18th time the Lady Scots have won 10 or more matches in a year.
Covenant began the year 3-0, all three shutouts, for the first time since 2010. The Lady Scots got to 4-1 on the year with a 4-0 victory over Oglethorpe on Homecoming that gave head coach Mark Duble his 250th career coaching win.
After suffering numerous injuries to key players throughout the year, the team finally got healthy in October as the Lady Scots went 6-2-1 in the month. Covenant won four straight from Oct. 7-19, including a double-overtime win over Berry where Lizzy Hightower put away the game-winner.
A big contributor on the Lady Scots offense was sophomore Addy Cronan, who was named to the All-USA South West Division first team and to the USA South All-Tournament team. She scored a team-leading 11 goals, which ranked her sixth in the USA South. She also recorded seven assists and 29 total points, good for first on the team in both categories.
Junior goalkeeper Rachel Lemay had another outstanding campaign to help bolster the Lady Scots defense and earn her spots on the United Soccer Coaches All-South Atlantic Region second team, the All-USA South first team and the All-West Division first team. She finished the season with a 0.69 goals against average, a .853 save percentage, and six complete shutouts, which were ranked second, fourth, and third in the USA South respectively.
Senior Callie Bader and freshman Kendyll Freeman were both key to the success of the Lady Scots this season. Bader was an All-USA South West Division first team honoree and was Covenant's representative on the All-Sportsmanship team. Freeman earned All-USA South West Division honors. Bader and Freeman, along with the rest of the group, helped produce 10 shutouts on the year, tied for third-most in program history, and only allowed 15 goals.
MATCH OF THE YEAR:
The Lady Scots saved their most dramatic moments for the postseason. After defeating Wesleyan 2-0 in the first round of the USA South Tournament, Covenant traveled to Demorest, Ga., to face two-time defending conference champion Piedmont in the quarterfinals.
A cold and rainy evening greeted Covenant, but the Lady Scots persevered through the conditions and a regionally-ranked Piedmont squad that had not been beaten all season. Covenant took a 1-0 lead in the first half as Bader found the back of the net off a free kick from Lemay. The lead stood until the 70th minute when Piedmont found the equalizer.
Yet a strong defensive effort from Covenant, a hallmark of the team throughout the year, got the match into overtime. Piedmont had a chance to win it in the first overtime, but Cassidy Reich, the USA South's Player of the Year, missed from close range. The Lady Scots held on and forced a penalty shootout to determine who would advance to the semifinal round.
Cronan knocked in her attempt and Piedmont's Erin Bright missed high on her chance giving Covenant a 1-0 lead after round one. Momentum swung back to Piedmont's favor after Carter Steedley's attempt was saved by the Lions' keeper Miranda McNalley before Tori Gillett knotted the shootout score at 1-1 with her successful attempt. Over the next two rounds, both teams' attempts were successful as Bader and Molly Kate McClearn converted for Covenant.
In the final round, freshman Elsa Woody calmly knocked home her attempt giving the Lady Scots a 4-3 edge and putting all the pressure on Piedmont. Lemay then came up big, as she was able to get in front of Savannah Castles' attempt and deflect it away giving Covenant the shootout win.
The win pushed Covenant to the semifinals of the USA South Tournament for the first time since 2013. It was also the first shootout victory for Covenant since 2005.
Rachel Lemay: 0.69 goals against average, 64 saves, .853 save percentage, nine shutouts (6 complete, 3 combined)
USC All-South Atlantic Region
Rachel Lemay - second team
Rachel Lemay - first team
USA South All-Tournament
USA South All-Sportmanship
USA South Defensive Player of the Week
Rachel Lemay- Sept. 11, 2017
USC Team Ethics Award
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