SALISBURY, N.C. — After trading penalty kick goals, junior forward Rachael Vienneau broke a 1-1 tie by scoring in the 65th minute to propel the fifth-seeded Lady Railsplitters past No. 4 seed Catawba, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Championship on Tuesday.
With the win, Lincoln Memorial University topped the Indians for the second time in just over a week to improve to 9-7-1 on the season and advance to the Friday’s semifinal match, which is slated to be held at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C. Catawba ends its season with a 10-8-1 overall mark.
The Lady Railsplitters grabbed command of the board early in the contest as a Catawba foul in the box at the end of the 3rd minute setup a penalty kick, and senior Michelle Allen capitalized on that opportunity by besting the Indians netminder to give Lincoln Memorial a 1-0 advantage.
Lincoln Memorial carried that 1-0 advantage into the break despite being out-shot, 8-4, in the period. Of those eight shots for the Indians, only one landed on frame while the Lady Railsplitters churned out three shots on goal over that same stretch.
The equalizer for the Indians came early in the second half as the Lady Railsplitters returned the favor with a foul in the box in the 48th minute. Like Allen, Catawba’s Anna Toole took advantage of that opening by knocking home the goal to square the match at 1-1.
LMU responded quickly on their offensive end of the field, unleashing a torrent of shots before Vienneau broke through in the 65th minute. Vienneau rebounded her own shot attempt that left the Catawba goalkeeper grounded and slammed the ball into the open net, giving the Lady Railsplitters a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. Vienneau’s first goal since Sept. 14 gave the junior forward three for the season.
The Indians only mounted three shot attempts down the stretch, but in the 85th minute Karen Presnell narrowly missed tying the game with a shot that struck the crossbar. Catawba’s Mary Kirkman followed up that look by putting one on frame, however, LMU netminder Kayla Stephens stopped that attempt to keep the Indians at bay.
Catawba finished with a 17-13 edge in shots in the match after the two teams tied with nine shots apiece in the second half. Despite that deficit in overall shot attempts, the Lady Railsplitters posted a 7-6 edge in shots on goal. Allen led all players in the match with five shots while Vienneau churned out three. Amy Iwanicki and Mary Kirkman paced the Indians with three shots apiece.
Stephens picked up the win after making five stops and allowing only the one goal via penalty kick in 90 minutes of work. Catawba’s Bethany Davis made four stops and surrendered two goals over that same span.
The Lady Railsplitters will square off against top-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne in Friday’s semifinal match at 7 p.m.