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College soccer: Indians ready for Friday afternoon showdown

From Catawba sports information

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. —  Catawba’s women’s soccer team plays in the D-II Championships on Friday afternoon against a familiar foe — No. 16 Carson-Newman (14-4).

“Personally I am just proud of everybody, the work ethic that has gone into this whole entire season,” Catawba co-captain and keeper Shelby Thompson said. “It feels like a big reward for everybody. No one gave us a chance and to make it this far is crazy. It is absolutely an amazing feeling.”

Predicted in August to finish sixth in the 11-team South Atlantic Conference Women’s in the preseason poll, the Indians (13-5) now are the seventh seed in the Southeast Region of the Division II  tournament.

Overcoming injuries, setbacks and lack of expectations from the outside, the team dug deep and found a quiet confidence and relish the opportunity ahead.

The 2 p.m. match at McCown Field will be the third meeting of the Eagles and Indians in the last 13 days.

Friday’s first round is the third consecutive weekend the two teams face each other, with the Eagles registering 2-1 victories in both tilts. The first game went double overtime in Jefferson City in the regular-season finale for both squads.

The rematch in the South Atlantic Conference semifinals ended last Friday at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C.,  with a 2-1 regulation victory for Carson-Newman.

SAC Offensive Player of the Year Magda Mosengo scored twice for Carson-Newman, while junior Bailey Howell netted the Indians’ loan marker.

This is the 40th meeting all-time between the schools, marking the most of any Catawba opponent. The Indians lead the all-time series 19-16-4 but have not posted a win since a 2-1 decision in 2014 in Jefferson City.

“I think they are excited to get another shot at Carson-Newman,” Catawba head coach Nick Brown said. “It is never fun when you lose to somebody twice, so we are going to go in, give everything we have and see what happens. They are a good team. They made it to the national finals last year for a reason.”

Catawba is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in the 29-year history of the program. The Indians last competed in the tournament in 2008, when they defeated Georgia C&SU in overtime in the first round.

“We have been here for three years and we have gotten to see the program grow,” said co-captain Logan Sandate, a midfielder. “As a leader on this team, it makes me very proud to see people grow. This is what we’ve been working for. I don’t think it’s luck or chance. This is what coach Brown intended for us to do. We have stuck with the game plan and it’s paying off now.”

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