Tiffany Sornpao saved Florida Gulf Coast’s last-ditch attempt in a penalty-kick shootout, and Kennesaw State stunned the top-seeded Eagles on Sunday to cap its rally and reach the ASUN Conference championship game.
The Owls (11-7-1), who also had to overcome a 2-0 halftime deficit, will travel to Lipscomb on Friday in a matchup for the conference title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
After Florida Gulf Coast (11-4-2) took the lead on first-half goals by Kara Kyramarios and Evdokia Popadinova, Kennesaw State tied it on a pair of goals by Becky Contreras and Carly Pressgrove over a 6-minute span of the second half.
Neither team could score again through the end of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, leading to the decisive shootout.
After both teams missed their first attempts, Florida Gulf Coast failed in the second round, but Kennesaw State’s Isabella Contreras connected for the lead. Alyssa Abbondandolo then evened the score for the Eagles before Becky Contreras beat Florida Gulf Coast goalkeeper Melissa Weck to give Kennesaw State a 2-1 advantage.
After two more missed shots, the game ended when Sornpao stopped the Eagles’ last attempt from Marjorie Boilesen.
Kennesaw State reached the ASUN final for the first time since 2014, when it lost to Florida Gulf Coast. The Owls will be playing for their first conference title and NCAA tournament bid since 2009.
Life wins MSC regular-season title
The Life University men’s soccer team won its first Mid-South Conference regular-season championship after a 2-1 victory over Pikeville on Friday.
The Running Eagles came from behind once again, scoring two goals late to clinch the championship. Reyes Hernandez scored to tie the game 1-1 in the 70th minute, and it was followed by Thierry Jules’ game-winner 2 minutes later.
Life did not allow a shot over the final 20 minutes of the match to secure the victory.
The Running Eagles finished the regular season 11-3 and a perfect 8-0 in Mid-South play. They are the No. 1 seed heading into this week’s conference tournament in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and will open play Saturday against the winner of a play-in game between Pikeville and Thomas More.
A victory would move Life into Sunday’s semifinal, with the championship game will be held Nov. 16.
Pikeville had the game’s first shot on goal nearly halfway through the first half — its only shot on goal in the first 45 minutes. Life had a 7-3 shot advantage, but the teams were scoreless at the half.
Six minutes into the second half, Pikeville took a 1-0 lead off a free kick that went in just under the top of the crossbar.
Pikeville had two additional shots on goal, but Luka Zakarija, who teamed with Fabian Pekruhl in the Life net, was able to make the stop in the 55th and 66th minutes.