Soccer Successfully Defends SBC Tournament Title, Earn Bid to NCAA Tournament

November 10, 2014 · By · Filed Under NCAA, Soccer, Sun Belt Conference 
The South Alabama soccer team celebrates their second-consecutive SBC Tournament championship after defeating Troy 1-0. | Photo: usajaguars.com

The South Alabama soccer team celebrates their second-consecutive SBC Tournament championship after defeating Troy 1-0. | Photo: usajaguars.com

The University of South Alabama women’s soccer team only needed one goal to defeat Troy 1-0 and successfully defend their Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship on Sunday.

Freshman Charde Hannah put the ball in the net in the 22nd minute of the match when she deflected a long free kick from sophomore Nikki Shirtcliffe. It was all the Jags needed to defeat Troy.

Hannah was named the most outstanding player for her three goals scored in the tournament and her 20th of the season, only one shy of the school’s single season record of 21 set in 1999.

South Alabama sets a new school record for wins in a season as they are 19-2-1 and is unbeaten in their last 18 games. They will have an opportunity to add to that total. The winner of the SBC Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Troy entered the match on Sunday with a six-match winning streak and Hannah’s goal was the first one allowed by the Trojans in over 600 minutes of play.

Sophomore Sarah Hay had five saves total, four in the second half, as Troy turned up the pressure after halftime outshooting USA 7-3.

The Jaguars had five named to the All-Tournament team: Nini Rabsatt-Smith, Sarah Hay, Rio Hardy, Nikki Shirtcliffe and Charde Hannah, who was also named the Most Outstanding Player.

“My girls were fantastic,” South Alabama head coach Graham Winkworth said. “They battled. It wasn’t always pretty but sometimes teams have to win with hard work alone. We played some nice stuff, particularly in the first half, moving the ball around, but in the second half, we just had to grind it out. I’m really proud of their efforts; they’re phenomenal group and a young group, and it’s going to be a nice future for the program.

“If they’re good enough, they’re old enough, so it doesn’t matter what grade they’re in,” Winkworth said. “We’ve got good players in every age category. It’s a squad effort; they push each other all day long to get better and from one to 23, they’re a good group of girls and I couldn’t be more proud of them. This year I just sat back and watched their smiles and it’s just a great feeling as a coach.”

The only thing left is to find out where they will be playing next. And you can join them at Heroes Sports Bar & Grille on Hillcrest Road to find out where they will be playing at 2:30pm when the NCAA Tournament announcement is made.

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