November 18, 2005

Soccer Team Makes History, Breaks Records

"...In mid-November Samford's 2005 soccer team won its third-consecutive Ohio Valley Conference title, became the first OVC team to advance in an NCAA tournament, the first Samford women's squad to do so and concluded the most successful season in school history (15-4-4)..."

In mid-November Samford's 2005 soccer team won its third-consecutive Ohio Valley Conference title, became the first OVC team to advance in an NCAA tournament, the first Samford women's squad to do so and concluded the most successful season in school history (15-4-4).

After winning their third-consecutive OVC regular-season title on October 23, the Bulldogs went on to win the 2005 OVC Tournament title on Nov. 7 with a 1-0 defeat of the Eastern Illinois Panthers. They then advanced to the NCAA Tournament in Nashville, Tenn., where they continued to make Samford athletic history.

On Nov. 11 Samford and Vanderbilt played to a 1-1 draw before the Bulldogs used a 5-4 advantage in a penalty-kick shootout to upend the 19th-ranked Commodores. Vanderbilt had its share of scoring opportunities in the contest, but Samford's freshman goalkeeper Cayley Winters made a career-high 11 saves, including the deflection of a shot during the penalty-kick shootout. Senior Marian Wagner scored the Bulldogs' lone goal in the victory (the record-setting 26th goal of her career) and registered the deciding score in the penalty-kick shootout. Wagner's goal was initiated by junior Sharon Young and continued by Cassie Applegate, who earned her first assist of the season. Rebecca Bohler, Sara Geiger, Shay Helmbock and Devon Paris also tallied penalty-kick goals. In addition to breaking the goals record of 2004 graduate Lindsay Shanks, Wagner also passed Shanks to become Samford's all-time leader in points (68).

The Bulldogs next advanced to the round of 32 and squared off against the 16th-ranked Pepperdine Waves on Nov. 13, but dreams of advancing further came to end with a 2-0 loss in the hard-fought contest. Rebecca Bohler, 2005 OVC Player of the Year, came within inches of tying the score at 1-1. She rifled a shot from the left wing but Pepperdine's goalkeeper was able to get a finger on the ball and tip it over the crossbar.

"Our players battled extremely hard today," said Samford head coach Todd Yelton after the loss to Pepperdine. "We went up against the No. 16 team in the country out there and by no means were we ever out of the game. I'm extremely proud of the way that our team has played all season and I think that this shows very favorably for the program."

The game was the last for seniors Wagner and Emily Morris. During their time at Samford, the pair has helped the program to a stellar 50-21-11 record and its first appearance in an NCAA College Cup.

"I'm just so proud of our seniors," Yelton said. "They have shown great leadership during their years at Samford and I'm a firm believer that everything either rises or falls based on leadership. They've done a great job for us." Next season, Samford returns all 11 of its starters from the NCAA College Cup.

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