Radford defeats Campbell 1-0 in Big South championship match
Charleston, S.C. – Radford forward Megan Rhodes headed in the only goal of Sunday's match in the 79th minute off a free ball from Sydney Golden to lift the Highlanders to a 1-0 victory over Campbell.
The teams traded scoring opportunities in the first half, with Campbell holding a narrow 10-8 advantage in shots. In the 21st minute, Pirjo Leppikangas (Helsinki, Finland) fired a shot from 40 yards out that RU keeper Lisa Lubke made a one-handed save on to knock out of bounds. The ensuing corner kick saw Lubke drift off her line and found the foot of Kirsty Meyer, whose shot was blocked down by a Highlander defender.
Radford had a scoring opportunity in the 26th minute, when a free kick just outside the CU box saw Ryann Torrero (Burbank, Calif.) make a save that rebounded back towards the 18-yard box. The rebound shot went wide and the teams went to halftime scoreless.
Torrero finished with a career-best nine saves in net. Her career-tying eighth save kept the match scoreless in the 64th minute when she made a one-handed save on Radford forward Mary Wiley's top-shelf attempt.
Campbell best scoring opportunity came in the 77th minute when a Highlander defender misplayed a ball back to the keeper. Ashley Clark (Cary, N.C.) intercepted the pass and was able to get an open shot at Radford keeper, Che' Brown, who played in net during the second half. Clark's shot went wide left, keeping the match scoreless.
Radford capitalized just over two minutes later, when Sydney Golden played a free ball into the box for the Highlanders. Megan Rhodes headed home the ball help RU take the 1-0 advantage. Clark was able to get a shot on goal with just over ten minutes remaining, but Brown made one of seven Radford saves on the afternoon. The Highlanders were able to close out the final ten minutes of play, earning the conference championship.
Clark finished with six shots in the match, putting four of those on goal. She breaks the school's single season shots record, finishing with 102 on the season.
Leppikangas, Annabelle Gibney (Melbourne, Australia) and Taylor Brown (Raleigh, N.C.) were named to the all-tournament team. Gibney finished the three matches with three goals and two assists, falling just two points shy of her regular season points total.
Campbell concludes the record breaking season 15-5-2, tying the program record for single season wins. The club went 7-1-2 in Big South Conference play, with the only loss a 1-0 decision at Charleston Southern. Radford improves to 16-5-0 on the season.
"I'm exceptionally proud of our team. Radford is a great team and even though our kids won't realize it today, the runner-up trophy we received is a great accomplishment," head coach Todd Clark said after the match. "Four or five years ago we were all over the place, and now we're in the conference finals just one goal away. I'm also really proud of our three seniors: Annabelle Gibney, Marisa Muller and Jamie Panfil. They've been with us for four years and have seen the program make great strides each year."